"It's a great honor. It means a lot,'' Trump said in a telephone interview on NBC's "Today'' show.
Time gives the title to the person who has had the greatest influence on events "for better or worse.''
"Person of the Year is not an honor, we choose it based on who has had the most impact on the news. Sometimes that's for better, sometimes that's for worse, sometimes people disagree whether it's for better, or for worse," the magazine's digital editor Edward Felsenthal told 1010 WINS.
The magazine's managing editor, Nancy Gibbs, said on "Today" that Democrat Hillary Clinton was the No. 2 finalist. Gibbs said the choice of Trump this year was "straightforward.''
"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-to-1 odds against him?'' Gibbs said.
The Time cover reads, "Donald Trump: President of the Divided States of America'' and the cover image features a photograph of the president-elect sitting in his private residence at Trump Tower.
In the "Today" interview, Trump took issue with the "Divided States of America'' description.
"I think putting 'divided' is snarky," Trump said.
"I didn't divide 'em,'' he added. "We're going to put it back together and we're going to have a country that's very well-healed.''
Trump went from fiery underdog in the race for the GOP presidential nomination to defeating Clinton in the Nov. 8 election. Trump won 306 electoral votes, easily enough to make him president when the electors meet on Dec. 19. Clinton won the popular vote.
"It's not only because Trump won the election, it's how he won the election. He did it alone, he did it without donors, without the Republican party, without the media. He basically eliminated the traditional institutions that have dominated the process in the past," Felsenthal said.
Gibbs said Clinton "came closer than any woman ever has to winning the White House, and in the process revealed, I think, both the opportunities and the obstacles that women face in the public square.''
"She was the first woman to come very close to being the Commander in Chief of the United States and she has become both a symbol of progress for many women and a sign that although she didn't make it to the finish line this time it'll happen soon enough," Felsenthal said.
The No.3 finalized for the Person of the Year was "The Hackers,'' which Gibbs said referred to "a new cyber security threat we saw this year of state-sponsored hackers looking to delegitimize an American election.'' She said this was "something new this year and something very disturbing.''
Meanwhile, during the "Today" interview, Trump revealed he has spoken to President Barack Obama about potential Trump administration cabinet picks.
"I take his recommendations very seriously, and there are some people that I will be appointing, and in one case have appointed, where he thought very highly of that person," Trump said.
The president-elect continues to evaluate candidates to fill out his administration and he has made a couple of decisions that will be important voices on national security matters, CBS2's Kenneth Craig reported.
CBS News confirms that Iowa Gov. Terry Branstad, a man China referred to as an old friend, will be the next U.S. Ambassador to China; and retired Marine Gen. John Kelly will be the Homeland Security Secretary.
Kelly interviewed with Trump in his office last week. He is now the third general appointed to join the Trump administration.
Tuesday night, Mr. Trump formally introduced General James Mattis as his pick to be Secretary of Defense.
Mattis retired from the military in 2013 and federal law prohibits him from heading the Pentagon within seven years of service. The other general in the Trump administration is Lt. General Michael Flynn who will be the incoming National Security Advisor.
(TM and © Copyright 2016 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2016 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)
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