For the very first time since Time Magazine began naming its Person of the Year in 1927, the person "who affected the news or our lives the most, for better or worse" in the eye's of Time's editors will be revealed Thursday during a TV special set to air at 10 p.m. ET on NBC
Time magazine Editor-in-Chief Edward Felsenthal told the "Today" show on Thursday that 2020 was “the hardest year” that he has been involved in with choosing who would be getting the distinction, reports The Hill.
"So many massive stories all over the world, racial justice, the pandemic, presidential elections, wildfires, a really, really challenging year to make this call,” Felsenthal said.
President Donald Trump
The 45th president has loomed large over the coronavirus pandemic, Black Lives Matter protests, and the Democratic process this year. He has been highly criticized for his poor handling of the coronavirus that has resulted in the deaths of over 290,000 people, according to Today.
Trump also showed little empathy over the protests after the death of George Floyd at the hands of police officers and the further protests by Black Lives Matter protesters. Trump has also persisted in claiming he won the presidential election in November, using conspiracy theories, falsehoods, and the courts in an attempt to overturn election results.
Trump also can lay claim to creating Operation Warp Speed, which aims to provide 300 million doses of approved COVID-19 vaccines to the public, beginning as early as later this month. Trump also helped broker the Abraham Accords, which normalized relations between Israel and three Arab states.
President-elect Joe Biden
Biden was elected the 46th president of the United States, breaking former President Barack Obama’s record for the most votes ever cast for a presidential candidate. Biden can also claim the distinction of being one of only 11 candidates to defeat a sitting president in U.S. election history.
Time's Felsenthal also cited Biden's “very different message than we’ve seen the last four years emphasizing empathy and unity.” Biden, at 78, will also be the oldest person to be sworn in as president next month. He is also part of an historic ticket that includes Vice President-elect Kamala Harris, the nation's first female vice president and the first one of color.
Biden has the tough job of trying to heal the hate and divisiveness that has infected the country, while also trying to regain control of the coronavirus that has already claimed more than 290,000 lives. He will also be responsible for continuing the distribution of a vaccine, started under Operation Warp Speed.
In his victory speech, Biden promised to be a president for everyone, regardless of their politics. "To make progress, we must stop treating our opponents as our enemy. We are not enemies. We are Americans," Biden said. "This is the time to heal in America."
Dr. Anthony Fauci and front-line Healthcare workers
Dr. Anthony Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, has been the public face of the health crisis, along with the thousands of healthcare providers who have kept doing their jobs, despite the trauma of watching more than 1.5 million people die from COVID-19 worldwide.
Time also says that healthcare workers are just one part of those workers we deem as being essential. Anyone deemed essential—like health care workers, postal workers, sanitation workers, transportation workers, grocery store clerks, and many others, risked their lives and in doing so, saved countless other lives.
Fauci became "the most visible scientific leader in the US in 2020" while urging Americans to keep themselves and others safe. He has been on various news network shows, giving advice, and answering questions about the coronavirus sent in by the television audience.
The Movement for Racial Justice
What started as a protest against police brutality over the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis in May after police officer Derek Chauvin was shown kneeling on his neck for nearly nine minutes, quickly grew into a nationwide, and then an international protest.
That protest became a call for a racial-awakening as people of all races and creeds joined together, marching and speaking out. There were calls for equality, as well as an end to systemic racism in housing, schools, entertainment, business, and other sectors.
Black Lives Matter, a social and political movement co-founded by Alicia Garza, Patrisse Cullors, and Opal Tometi in 2013, was front and center during protests across the country in the fight for equality. The slogan, "Black Lives Matter," was painted on prominent streets in cities like New York and Washington, D.C.