Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky was named TIME Magazine’s Person of the Year on Wednesday, beating out nine other finalists or groups. “Spirit of Ukraine” also recognized the resistance of Ukrainians to the Russian invaders of their country.
Zelensky was favored to win as the “most influential” person this year after taking to the world stage for his opposition to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. Zelensky, a former comedian and actor, won the presidency of Ukraine in 2019.
But that doesn’t mean the race isn’t hot. Some members of TIME’s shortlist for Person of the Year proved controversial.
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TIME was ridiculed on Twitter for listing Wyoming Congresswoman Liz Cheney, who lost the primary by “38 points” and polled “3 percent for president,” tweeted columnist Charlie Kirk.
Cheney became a media darling after emerging as a public opponent of former President Donald Trump. Although defeated in his primary race by Republican Harriet Heyman, Cheney continued to act as a thorn in the side of the Republican Party, even challenging Democrats such as Rep. Elissa Slotkin, D-Mich.
Progressives have also criticized Tesla CEO Elon Musk and especially Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis as TIME’s Person of the Year. “Morning Joe” host Mika Brzezinski grilled TIME executive editor Ben Goldberger on Monday for making DeSantis a finalist.
Brzezinski ran through the suitors: “Volodymyr Zelensky? Makes sense. Mackenzie Scott? Yes. Protesters in Iran? Makes sense. Ron DeSantis? Doesn’t make sense to me.”
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Goldberger defended his choice, saying DeSantis “won re-election in a landslide” in Florida and “turned” Miami-Dade County from blue to red.