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With 2019 just three weeks from its end, it seems there’s time for one last Clash of the Titans: Greta v The Donald.
On Tuesday, TIME magazine released its five-person shortlist for Person of the Year 2019, and has included both the Swedish climate activist and U.S. president as contenders.
U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, the anonymous CIA official responsible for kickstarting the impeachment proceedings, and the relentless Hong Kong protesters have also been nominated for the title.
The nomination is a first for Thunberg but a fifth for Trump, whose name has made the shortlist since 2015. Trump has only won the title once — in 2016 — thanks to TIME’s tradition of awarding the gong to incoming U.S. presidents.
In 2017, Trump claimed that he had rejected that year’s title because he would have had to pose for pictures and chat with the magazine.
“Time Magazine called to say that I was PROBABLY going to be named ‘Man (Person) of the Year’ like last year, but I would have to agree to an interview and a major photo shoot,” Trump wrote. “I said probably is no good and took a pass.”
That year the magazine dedicated the title to the then-burgeoning #MeToo movement, honouring women who had spoken out against sexual harassment and abuse.
Although Trump used the term “Man of the Year” in his tweet — enclosing the word “person” in brackets — the magazine has in fact been using the more neutral “Person of the Year” term since 1999.
Now, Trump faces Thunberg for the top award, and t his isn’t the first time they’ve been pitted against each other. Their rivalry first made headlines in September 2019, after Trump was criticized for a tweet mocking the 16-year-old activist’s passionate speech denouncing politicians during a UN climate conference.
Thunberg however, took the tweet in her stride, updating her Twitter bio the next day to read: “A very happy young girl looking forward to a bright and wonderful future.”
Later that same month, she was nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize. Although Trump made no mention of Thunberg’s candidacy for the Nobel, he publicly lamented his own lack of a nomination.
“I think I’ll get a Nobel prize for a lot of things if they gave it out fairly, which they don’t,” Trump told the media while attending the UN General Assembly in New York.
That prize ultimately went to Ethiopia Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed, for his efforts to resolve border conflict with neighbouring Eritrea.
Copyright Postmedia Network Inc., 2019