Tags: Trump Administration | US | Time Person of the Year

Trump Happy With Time Magazine Honor, Disagrees on 'Divided' Label

(NBC "Today")

By    |   Wednesday, 07 December 2016 08:40 AM

President-elect Donald Trump, a year after declaring Time magazine would never have him on its cover as the annual "Person of the Year," said Wednesday that he considers it a "very, very great honor" to have been named this year, but took issue with the magazine labeling him as the "President of the Divided States of America."

"It means a lot, especially with me growing up reading 'Time' magazine," Trump told NBC "Today" show host Matt Lauer. "It's a very important magazine. I've been lucky enough to be on the cover many times this year. And last year. But I consider this a very, very great honor."

Time Managing Editor Nancy Gibbs, while making the announcement earlier in the morning, said that Trump was selected with a great deal of controversy among the magazine's editors.

"When have we ever seen a single individual who has so defied expectations, broken the rules, violated norms, beaten not one, but two political parties on the way to winning an election that he entered with 100-1 odds against him?" said Gibbs. "I don't think that we have ever seen one person operating in such an unconventional way have an impact on the events of the year."

The cover calls Trump the "President of the Divided States of America," and Gibbs said the person selected is the one who has had the greatest influence on events, for "better or worse."

"The fascinating thing this year is I've never seen so much agreement over who had the most influence and the most disagreement whether it was for better or worse," said Gibbs.

Trump, though, told Lauer that he was not the person who divided the United States.

"There's a lot of division, and we're going to put it back together and we're going to have a country that's very well healed," Trump said. "We're going to be a great economic force and we're going to build up our military and safety and we're going to do a lot of great things. It's going to be something very special. But to be on the cover of Time magazine as the Person of the Year is a tremendous honor."

Meanwhile, Trump's transition period is continuing, and he told Lauer he's gotten some advice from an unexpected source: President Barack Obama.

"Well, I think putting 'divided,' is snarky," he repeated about the Time cover. "But it's divided. I'm not president yet so I didn't do anything to divide. I will say this. I've gotten to know President Obama. I really like him. We have, I think I can say at least for myself, I can't speak for him, but we have a really good chemistry together, we talk."

Obama loves the United States, continued Trump, and wants to do right by the country.

"We obviously very much disagree on certain policies and certain things, but, you know, I really like him as a person," said Trump.

In the Time interview, Trump said he has talked to Obama even about his possible adminstration appointments, but he said it wouldn't be fair to Obama to specify which of the nominations came under discussion.

"I've asked him what he thinks are the biggest problems of the country, what are some of the greatest assets going forward," said Trump. "We have a very good dialogue. And I must tell you, you know, I never met him before this. I never spoke to him before this. I really, I do like him. I love getting his ideas. And I may differ in many cases, I differ very greatly. In many cases I'm the opposite."

Tuesday night, Trump made it official that retired Gen. James Mattis is his choice for secretary of Defense, and he told Lauer he is "fairly close" to naming a secretary of State.

"I think that General Mattis is going to be terrific," said Trump. "It's a little bit outside the box. He's a tough cookie. We need a tough cookie. He's smart, he's brilliant actually, and as a tactician he's brilliant. And I really look forward to him."

There are many names under consideration for State, including Mitt Romney, Rudy Giuliani, David Petraeus, Sen. Bob Corker, and former ambassador John Bolton, and Trump admitted Wednesday he has crossed off some names "in his own mind," but would not say which ones.

However, he said Romney, the 2012 GOP presidential nominee who often lambasted Trump during the election, remains under consideration.

"We've come a long way together," said Trump. "We had some tremendous difficulty together and now I think we've come a long way. But the answer is yes, he does."

He also denied a question from Lauer over whether he is "stringing" Romney along for revenge for his campaign comments.

"It's not about revenge, it's about what's good for the country," said Trump. "I'm able to put this stuff behind us. I hit him very hard also, which is very nice that the press doesn't cover that. I'm very happy about that actually."

Trump also spoke about his tweet to Boeing about the costs of the new Air Force One project, in which he threatened to cancel the company's contract for costs he cited as being over $4 billion, and his comments that the aviation giant may be "doing a little bit of a number" on American taxpayers.

"I think the planes are too expensive," said Trump. "I spoke to a very good man yesterday, the head of Boeing, terrific guy, and we're going to work it out. But you know, that's what I'm here for. I'm going to negotiate prices. Planes are too expensive. We're going to get the prices down. If we don't get the prices down, we're not going to order them, we'll stay with what we have."

Trump's comments came out just after an article in which Boeing CEO Dennis Muilenburg complained about Trump's trade to The Chicago Tribune, but Trump denied Wednesday that he'd seen the article.

On Tuesday, Trump's transition team said during a conference call that Trump has sold off his stock holdings back in June, and he told Lauer Wednesday that he'd never been a "big person for the stock market," and that he sold his holdings because he believed he would win the presidential race.

"I don't think it's appropriate for me to be owning stocks when I'm making deals for this country that maybe will affect one company positively and one company negatively," said Trump. "I just felt it was a conflict."

Trump also spoke about his use of Twitter, saying he thinks he's "very restrained" and he talks about "important things" on the social media site.

"I talk about as you know recently China and the fact we talked about their devaluation, we talked about their building this massive military fortress in the middle of the South China Sea, which they're not supposed to be doing, and other things," said Trump. "Frankly, it's a modern-day form of communication."

Further, he said he can release information quicker through Facebook and Twitter than he can with a press release and can get it out "more honestly than dealing with dishonest reporters because so many reporters are dishonest."

Many of those tweets have targeted "Saturday Night Live" and Alec Baldwin's portrayal of Trump, and the president-elect once again made hits on the show Wednesday.

"I hosted SNL when it was a good show, but it's not a good show anymore," said Trump. "First of all, nothing to do with me, there's nothing funny about it, the skits are terrible."

He also said he likes Baldwin, "but I don't think that his imitation of me gets me at all and it's meant to be very mean-spirited, which is very biased. And I don't like it."

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President-elect Donald Trump, a year after declaring Time magazine would never have him on its cover as the annual "Person of the Year," said Wednesday that he considers it a "very, very great honor" to have been named this year...
US, Time Person of the Year
Wednesday, 07 December 2016 08:40 AM
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