Biggest newsmakers of 2017

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December 20, 2017
Chatham House // Wikimedia

Biggest newsmakers of 2017

With 2017 drawing to a close, MSN took a look at the newsmakers who most often captured your attention during the year as they inspired, informed, outraged or surprised.

The interest you show with your clicks helps shape news coverage every day, even as those choices feed opinions and fuel conversations, online and off, around the world. So to mark the year’s end, Stacker looked in depth at how you, our U.S. audience, engaged with hundreds of thousands of stories about dozens of individuals to determine your newsmakers of the year.

To compile the list, MSN editors reviewed the clicks on a year’s worth of headlines. That included more than 30,000 headlines about these newsmakers across the breadth of topics MSN covers—not only U.S. and world news, but entertainment, sports, finance, lifestyle, fashion, health, autos, food and drink, and travel. Those clicks represent the collective interest of millions of users who visited MSN over the course of the year using PCs, phones and tablets, choosing their top stories from the work of more than 1,200 premium publishers. Our partner Stacker has taken that data and constructed this gallery.

Throughout 2017, you voted with your clicks; these top 25 individuals are your newsmakers of the year.

1 / 25

#25. Justin Trudeau

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is more than a political figure to you: he’s part heartthrob (especially in his youth), part philanthropist, part punching bag for a Friends star. In fact, this year you read about 100 Trudeau-centric articles from 26 different brands. But the Trudeau story that you couldn’t get enough of was surprisingly not about him, exactly — but his hands.

U.S. President Donald Trump’s handshakes went under a significant amount of scrutiny this year, with his infamous “yanking” technique, and apparent vice-like grabs with various heads of state making headlines everywhere. But when the president welcome Prime Minister Trudeau the White House in February, Trudeau seemed to come prepared with a strategy.The Canadian grabbed the president’s hand, while using his other to firmly keep his distance and avoid any yanking — a move that some on Twitter called “the biggest display of dominance in Canada’s history.” Later on in the White House, a photo of Trudeau staring at Trump’s open palm, looking like he wasn’t in the mood to engage, went viral, prompting many readers to speculate about what Trudeau was thinking during that moment.

2 / 25
JD Lasica // Flickr

#24. Elon Musk

Innovations in tech are cropping up every day — from whisperings of a future filled with fully electric and driverless cars to explorations on Mars — so when Elon Musk is in the news, you pay attention. More than 170 articles on Musk from 44 brands piqued your interested in 2017. But even though many noticed that the Tesla C.E.O. has been quickly burning through a lot of cash, you still couldn’t wait to read about the tech mogul’s warnings about artificial intelligence and drama with the Trump administration.

After word that autonomous tech had beaten human professional players in a virtual sports competition, Musk took to Twitter to tell the public to be wary of machine learning, saying that it’s a bigger threat to the world than nuclear war with North Korea. Musk’s stance is such that he is a founder of OpenAI, a nonprofit that “promotes the safe development of AI.”

One of the biggest stories that you followed was Musk’s resignation from his position as a member of the presidential advisory council. This transpired after he urged President Trump not to withdraw the U.S. from the Paris Climate Agreement, threatening to leave the White House if it were to happen. After the president made the announcement that he would pull out of the agreement, Musk officially stepped down. "Am departing presidential councils," Musk tweeted on Thursday. "Climate change is real," he tweeted. “Leaving Paris is not good for America or the world.

3 / 25
Lorie Shaull // Flickr

#23. Al Franken

In the last few months, the compounded allegations of sexual misconduct against men around Hollywood has emboldened women across industries to speak up, politics included. One of the more recent stories that you followed closely (160 stories from 26 different brands), was that of Sen. Al Franken (D-Minn.).

Newscaster Leeann Tweeden accused the senator of forcibly kissing her in rehearsals for a skit and then later groping her while she was asleep, during a 2006 USO tour Franken had done during his career as a comedian. She included photo evidence of the event. In a statement, the senator apologized, saying “I certainly don't remember the rehearsal for the skit in the same way, but I send my sincerest apologies to Leeann. As to the photo, it was clearly intended to be funny but wasn't. I shouldn't have done it." Tweeden is among eight other women who have accused Franken of sexual misconduct.

Despite this apology and some others coming to his defense (including a few women from Saturday Night Live), Franken was pressured by Senate Republicans and Democrats alike to resign, which he did in December. Some still feel as though Republicans and the Trump administration treated Franken much more harshly than others accused — notably former judge from Alabama Roy Moore — because of his party.

4 / 25
dianpurdi41 // Shutterstock

#22. Roy Moore

The accusations that plagued Alabama Republican Roy Moore’s senatorial campaign were among the most incendiary of a politician so far and likely led to his eventual defeat by his opponent, Democrat Doug Jones. These 150-or so stories from 27 brands kept you glued to your screens this year, all starting with a woman coming forward saying that she was molested by a 32-year old Moore when she was just 14. Since then seven more women have come forward with allegations of sexual encounters that Moore initiated when they were teenagers.

But among these scandalous stories came one that piqued your interest the most — an article about a woman who approached The Washington Post with a fake story about Moore, hoping to discredit the news organization.

The woman told The Post that in 1992 when she was 15 she had a sexual relationship with Moore that led to her getting an abortion. But after The Post questioned her unsubstantiated accounts, the woman was seen walking into the offices of Project Veritas, a group that sets up undercover ‘string’ to expose what the group feels is rampant media bias from mainstream media and leftist groups.

5 / 25

#21. Rex J. Tillerson

Secretary of State Rex Tillerson’s newsmaker status, which prompted you to read 550 articles from 32 brands, started in the very beginning of his career, when he admitted that he had not sought out his position high up in the White House.

"I didn't want this job. I didn't seek this job," Tillerson told the Independent Journal Review in March. “When [President Trump] asked me at the end of that conversation to be secretary of state, I was stunned.”

What started as Trump’s vote of confidence for Tillerson became a fraught relationship, with more spats than warm feelings between the two men. In July, Tillerson threatened to quit and called the president a “moron.” Tensions escalated to the point that Vice President Pence called Tillerson to the White House in an attempt to diffuse the situation. By August, Trump reportedly called Tillerson “too establishment,” and the administration was frustrated that the secretary had yet to staff his department. (Tillerson apparently tried to hire for positions, but was angered by an aide who attempted to dismiss his appointments and questioned his judgement.) Some speculate that the animosity between the two means that Tillerson’s job might not be his for much longer.

6 / 25
Gage Skidmore // Flickr

#20. Mitch McConnell

Majority leader and Republican Senator from Kentucky Mitch McConnell has experienced a roller coaster of highs and lows this year, which you followed closely (reading 380 stories from 23 partners). Despite some animosity towards senate hopeful Roy Moore amidst allegations of sexual misconduct with minors, and tension between himself and the president, the biggest failure when it came to policy that you read about was his inability to repeal the Affordable Care Act earlier this year.

McConnell was largely had realistic expectations that replacing the Obama-era health care bill would be difficult, but the drafting and re-working of the Senate bill (which passed in the House) split the Republican party in ways that made compromise seem out of reach. And on July 27, Senator McCain cast the decisive “no” vote that killed the bill entirely.

As the year comes to a close, however, McConnell has time to redeem himself with another bill — the Republican tax bill. The bill, which passed in the House, will be presented before the Senate very soon, allowing the president to perhaps sign before Christmas. Some confusion as to whether the bill gives cuts to the middle class still remains, but nevertheless, it seems that this could be the first major legislative victory of the party since Trump’s election.

7 / 25
Jdarsie11 // Wikimedia

#19. Anthony Scaramucci

Anthony Scaramucci may have been the White House communications director for a mere 10 days, but the financier’s notoriously brash attitude made a splash that caught your attention this summer. With 280 stories from 30 brands, you followed Scaramucci’s outbursts that ultimately cost him his job.

After Scaramucci unloaded a barrage of criticisms of senior White House staff on to a New Yorker reporter at the end of July, the communications director was swiftly fired. He called former Chief of Staff Reince Priebus “a fucking paranoid schizophrenic, a paranoiac” and said that Steve Bannon was promoting his “own brand off the fucking strength of the president.” Priebus and former press secretary Sean Spicer had both resigned over Scaramucci’s appointment.

He also caught your attention by threatening to “fire everybody,” reacting in frustration from the leaked information that has been plaguing the Trump administration from the beginning.

8 / 25
Gage Skidmore // Wikimedia

#18. Donald Trump Jr.

Donald J. Trump Jr., son of President Trump, solidified himself as his father’s biggest defender this year, coming to his defense multiple times on and off Twitter. Besides going after his father’s former political rival Hillary Clinton, He went after late-night TV host Jimmy Kimmel after the comedian urged the president to “quit that boring job,” pointedly asking Kimmel about the Harvey Weinstein allegations. He also went after Chelsea Handler, another comedian and late-night host and MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow over their tweets aimed at the president.

In more scandalous news, emails have shown that Trump Jr. had accepted a meeting with Russians who claimed to offer dirt on Clinton. Whether he obtained the information in the end or not, Trump Jr.’s predicament only fuels the fire that is the investigation into possible ties between Russian officials and Trump’s presidential campaign.

9 / 25
Gage Skidmore // Wikimedia

#17. Sean Spicer

Sean Spicer filled your newsfeeds just for — well, being himself. The former White House press secretary’s briefings were known as tense, sometimes hostile battles between Spicer and the media, and at times the press secretary’s messaging was different than that of the president.

There was the time that Spicer referred to Nazi concentration camps as “holocaust centers,” sending Twitter into an angered frenzy, or when he cited an Islamist terror attack that had never taken place. And when it came to mixed messages, there was the event in which Spicer tried to explain that the president’s plans for restrictions on travel weren’t necessarily a ban, to which Trump tweeted later: “I am calling it what we need and what it is, a TRAVEL BAN!” His briefings were followed so closely that he was often parodied on Saturday Night Live by actress and comedian Melissa McCarthy.

But of the 550 articles from 50 brands about Spicer that you read, most were about his eventual resignation in July. This came after he openly disagreed with President Trump about his appointment of Anthony Scaramucci, as the new communications director. Though Trump offered that Spicer stay on with Scaramucci as his superior, Spicer decided to step down instead.

10 / 25

#16. Michael Flynn

Just less than a month after Donald Trump took office, his national security advisor, Michael Flynn, resigned over reports that he had misled U.S. officials, including Vice President Mike Pence, over his contact with Russia. The Flynn-centric White House scandal certainly captured your attention, with 650 articles about the event from 40 different brands.

According to Flynn’s resignation letter, he gave “incomplete information” to Pence about his calls with the Russian ambassador during the administration’s transition. It was later revealed by ex-F.B.I. Director James Comey, however, that despite these missteps, the president had asked Comey to end his probe into Flynn’s dealings.

As a result of this fallout, Democrats in Congress called for a special counsel to investigate further into members of the Trump administration's’ ties to Russia, which eventually became the team (headed by special counsel Robert Mueller) to charge Flynn with lying to the F.B.I. about his activities.

11 / 25
Robert 2004// Wikimedia

#15. Kim Jong Un

North Korean leader Kim Jong-un has become somewhat of a fixation for Americans around the country — and as you read over 350 articles from 33 brands about the dictator, his threats of nuclear violence and missile tests have become harder to ignore. And most of all, you wanted to know what exactly North Korea wants from the U.S.

The year started off with an unwelcome reminder of North Korea’s chemical and biological weaponry, when Kim Jong-un’s older half brother, Kim-Jong-nam, was found to have been likely killed by North Korea, using a VX nerve agent that was rubbed on his face in Malaysia. According to a terrorism expert at the S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies in Singapore, the attack was likely a show of power to the rest of the world. “By using VX in an international airport in the heart of Asia,” said Rohan Gunaratna, “North Korea has sent a very clear message to the world that it will strike its enemies anywhere in the world.”

North Korean experts have revealed that Kim Jong-un and the North Korean government are looking for a formal end to the Korean War, to keep its nuclear program and have its United Nations-imposed sanctions lifted. But as long as North Korea continues to conduct missile tests (one intermediate-range missile successfully struck at the same distance as Guam), it doesn’t seem like anyone will be inspired to sit at the negotiating table.

12 / 25
FBI // Wikimedia

#14. Robert Mueller

Ever since Special Counsel Robert Mueller was appointed to lead the team that is investigating the Trump campaign’s possible collusion with Russia, you’ve been following the probe like a detective series. The whopping 630 stories from 32 brands have revealed how closely watched this investigation is, with varying sides and interpretations of each new finding.

But perhaps the most dramatic episode of Mueller’s probe occurred later this year, when the special counsel obtained approval by a federal grand jury to file the first charges against those involved in Russian meddling (Paul Manafort, Michael Flynn, Rick Gates and George Papadopoulos were charged in December). Many on the right aim to discredit the former F.B.I. director, including some senators and political pundits who believe that he has conflicts of interest. Others, like the members of the Department of Justice, still lend their support to Mueller.

13 / 25
Don Irvine // Wikimedia

#13. Stephen K. Bannon

One of the most polarizing former members of the Trump administration, Steven K. Bannon’s tenure as Chief White House strategist was a turbulent one, largely shaping the nationalist/populist ideology that helped define the president’s first months in office. In fact, after Bannon was set to leave the White House, TIME’s magazine cover featured a picture of Bannon with the headline “The Great Manipulator.”

But even after the executive chairman of Breitbart News’ departure, he still managed to make headlines by speaking to the direction of a Trump administration without him. He told The Weekly Standard that "The Trump presidency that we fought for, and won, is over. [...] "We still have a huge movement, and we will make something of this Trump presidency. But that presidency is over.” He still continues to advise Trump and Roy Moore during his failed senatorial campaign.

14 / 25
Chatham House // Wikimedia

#12. Prince Harry

Times may change and years will go by, but it seems that no matter what, the public will never tire of news regarding England’s royals. You read 650 articles from 50 brands about Prince Harry this year, and with his impending marriage to actress Megan Markle on the horizon, voracious readership will likely only increase.

Earlier this year, you were taken by the juicy tell-all about Prince Harry, penned by a royal reporter who spent 10 years on the road with the royal. His doomed love affairs with Zimbabwean Chelsy Davy, models and aspiring actress Cressida Bonas.

But later, when Prince Harry revealed he was engaged to the former Suits star, the exciting news seemed to obscure much of his past dalliances. News about what royal rules allow and forbid the couple to do, as well as possible royal titles for Markle and plans for the giant wedding affair have become a fixture of current events in 2017 (and will likely stay that way throughout 2018).

15 / 25
Genevieve // Wikimedia

#11. Meghan Markle

Many young women and men dream of one day being whisked off by a dashing prince — and for actress Megan Markle, this fantasy has just become a reality. Markle and Prince Harry announced their engagement in late November, with plans to marry in early summer of next year.

But no royal romance is without a few scandals and rumors peppered in the news. Markle, who will be the first American, let alone African-American woman to marry into the royal family, is already the target of some unkind remarks from estranged members of her family who are now coming out of the woodwork. Her half sister Samantha is reportedly writing a memoir, “The Diary of Princess Pushy’s Sister,” about their strained relationship and Markle’s alleged “self-obsessed social-climber” attitude.

Thankfully, one source of awkwardness can be hopefully put to bed — Pippa Middleton, sister of Kate Middleton, had not invited Markle to her wedding because she and Harry weren’t engaged. But now that the two have set a date, Markle will hopefully make the cut in May.

16 / 25
MattGangon // Wikmedia

#10. Megyn Kelly

Megyn Kelly’s year was off to a good start when the former host of the widely successful “Kelly File” on Fox News announced that she was leaving the network for a $15$20 million dollar salary at NBC. She joined the “Today” franchise and host a new show, “Megyn Kelly Today.”

But as the year went on, celebrity guests started to vocalize their dismay at some of Kelly’s questions (Jane Fonda was asked about her plastic surgery and Debra Messing disliked a few comments Kelly made about a gay fan) and reports revealed that the show’s ratings have missed the mark. According to Page Six, “Megyn's hour is down 32% compared to a year ago and "Kathie Lee and Hoda" is down 26%. [..] Some believe her format doesn't make sense and distracts from the whole franchise.”

When Kelly’s “Today” colleague Matt Lauer was fired over sexual harassment claims, the host revealed that she didn’t know the extent of the allegations delivered a statement about the rampant sexual misconduct in media and other workplaces. As someone who has spoken publicly about being personally victimized by sexual harassment at Fox News — notably by Fox News CEO Roger Ailes — and has seen it from other colleagues such as Fox host Bill O’Reilly, Kelly has been unfaltering in her condemnation of inappropriate behavior in the workplace.

17 / 25
Jim Greenhill // Wikimedia

#9. John McCain

Senator John McCain has been through quite a year – and you noticed, reading 660 articles by 50 brands about his various battles in 2017.

During the summer, the Arizona senator underwent surgery to remove a blood clot, only to find that the clot was a result of primary glioblastoma, a type of malignant brain tumor. He underwent surgery that cut into the side of his face, but recovered relatively quickly at home in Florida. The senator’s brain cancer, however didn’t stop him from casting a vote to ultimately kill the “skinny Obamacare repeal bill” that the GOP pushed so fervently for this year.

McCain’s decisive “no” sent a shock through the Senate floor, although the senator had been vocal before about his dissatisfaction with the bill. He didn’t reveal what his decision would be before voting, but told reporters to “wait for the show” that followed.

Republicans who were angered by McCain’s vote held it against him, and one senator even said that McCain’s brain cancer surgery could have impaired his judgement. "He has a brain tumor right now, that vote occurred at 1:30 in the morning. Some of that might have factored in," Johnson said in a radio interview.

But McCain has stood firm that his decision was deliberate, and one that he does not regret. “While the amendment would have repealed some of Obamacare's most burdensome regulations,” McCain said, “it offered no replacement to actually reform our health care system and deliver affordable, quality healthcare to our citizens."

18 / 25
David Shankbone // Wikimedia

#8. Harvey Weinstein

One of the biggest scandals of the year in Hollywood has become much more than just an isolated event — it has launched a movement of women from all industries speaking up against their harassers. And at the center of the 850 articles from 50 partners that you read about the events is Harvey Weinstein, Hollywood producing giant and now a known sexual predator.

In October, Ronan Farrow spent the better part of a year interviewing 13 women who sexual misconduct by Weinstein from the 1990s to the present, chronicling it all in an explosive New Yorker piece. Though Weinstein has repeatedly denied many of the allegations of sexual harassment or assault voiced by more than dozens of women, it has become more clear that his behavior was known to many in Hollywood, even in the highest echelons of management. He threatened to ruin women’s careers if they didn’t comply with his sexual demands, made up elaborate stories and schemes to cover this tracks, and used his connections to smear those who tried to speak out against him.

He has since been fired from his position and is currently “seeking treatment,” but the wave that was set in motion by this bombshell of a story will likely carry on for the foreseeable future.

19 / 25
David Shankbone // Wikimedia

#7. Matt Lauer

In the wake of the series of sexual assault allegations that have outed men from Hollywood and politics to media, NBC News fired co-host Matt Lauer in late November after hearing complains of sexual misconduct. An employee filed a complaint about "inappropriate sexual behavior in the workplace," and later more women came forward saying that they had received unwanted sexual advances from Lauer in the past.

As more women came forward, it was revealed that some had even complained to executives about his behavior before, according to Variety. But since “Today” was the top-performing show, these complaints were not taken seriously. He had once given a colleague a sex toy, and exposed himself to another without her consent. Another fixation of his firing is that one woman revealed that he had a “secret button” under his desk that allowed him to quickly lock his door from the inside.

In a statement, Lauer apologized for his behavior, and hoped to mend the grave errors he had made. “There are no words to express my sorrow and regret for the pain I have caused others by words and actions,” Lauer wrote. To the people I have hurt, I am truly sorry. As I am writing this I realize the depth of the damage and disappointment I have left behind at home and at NBC.”

20 / 25
FBI // Wikimedia

#6. James Comey

Former F.B.I. Director James Comey was a figure who you closely followed, as you read 1,300 stories from 53 brands filled with details of Comey’s firing and subsequent tough criticism of the Trump administration.

Comey revealed that throughout his investigation of Russia’s involvement in the 2016 election, he was pressured by President Trump to end his probe into national security adviser Michael Flynn and to stay “loyal” to the president. After his firing, Comey told the Senate Intelligence Committee about tensions between him and the president, making him uncomfortable enough that he had decided to note what Trump had said during their awkward one-on-one conversations. He also refuted the reason that the president gave for his dismissal, which was that the bureau was in chaos and disorganized under his watch. He said the administration "defamed him and more importantly the FBI, and accused it of “spreading lies, plain and simple.”

21 / 25
Michael Vadon // Flickr

#5. Ivanka Trump

Ivanka Trump, fashion designer and daughter of President Trump, has played a unique role in her father’s administration. Throughout 2017, you fixated most on her fashion sense and the nuanced and ever-changing role she has been taking in her father’s presidency.

During Trump’s presidential campaign, she was an eloquent speaker and vocalized her support of paid family leave and other family-centric issues — some believed she represented a more moderate side to the Trump ideology that could direct the pendulum to swing more center. But when some went as far as to suggest that she would take on the duties normally reserved for the First Lady, Trump found the idea “inappropriate,” saying that Melania Trump would do “remarkable things.”

As the year went on, Trump would take somewhat of a backseat to the political work, especially when it seemed as if she would not sway her father to support her causes. But the eldest daughter has come back into the spotlight recently due to suspicions from the Mueller probe that her husband, Jared Kushner, has contacts with Moscow and has conducted meetings with Russian intermediaries.

22 / 25
Chuck Kennedy, White House photographer // Wikimedia

#4. Melania Trump

From the beginning, First Lady Melania Trump has diverged from the traditions of first ladies before her. Well, except for her sense of style style which you idolized, criticized, and picked apart in order to find a potential hidden meaning.

Most notably, the first lady decided not to move into the White House as soon as her husband was inaugurated. She was clear that she wanted to stay in New York City with her son, Barron, as he finished school. “I am a full-time mother to our son, Barron, an incredible boy,” she said. CBS News talked to Anita McBride, former chief of staff for first lady Laura Bush, who said that keeping any sense of normalcy in the first family is key. “As the president’s spouse, one of the most important things that they really have to do is be able to create a family life. [...] A sanctuary around the president that keeps family life as stable as possible.”

23 / 25
Gage Skidmore // Flickr

#3. Hillary Clinton

After former secretary of state and presidential hopeful Hillary Clinton’s stunning loss to Donald Trump last year, many wondered if Clinton would lay low and disappear from the spotlight for a while. But 2017 proved to be the year in which Clinton would be as vocal as ever, with 1,250 articles from 70 brands chronicling her tell-all book and her continued condemnation of Trump’s statements and policies.

Even on the day that her political rival was sworn into the presidency, Clinton turned her support to the men and women protesting at the various Women’s Marches around the world. On Saturday we watched women and men across this country and the globe stand up, speak out, and peacefully march for those values with one voice,” Clinton said to People. “It was awe-inspiring. We have to keep up the momentum.”

Four months later, at her first post-election interview at Tina Brown's eighth annual Women in the World Summit in New York City, Clinton called her loss “devastating,” but cited four main reasons why she believed she lost to Trump. Clinton “cited Russian meddling in the election, FBI Director James Comey's involvement toward the end of the race, WikiLeaks theft of emails from her campaign chairman, and misogyny.” She saved most of the details for her book, “What Happened?” which was published in September.

24 / 25
Obama Whitehouse Archives

#2. Barack Obama

Many of you were interested in knowing what exactly former president Obama planned to do when he left the White House — reading 3,400 stories from 126 partners. But while Obama did seem to enjoy himself as he golfed, went kitesurfing with Richard Branson and served as his wife Michelle’s personal vacation Instagrammer, he eventually reappeared in the national conversation, becoming increasingly vocal about the current administration.

Trump liked to criticize Obama for many things — notably the “vacations” and golfing that he said the former president was preoccupied with. And it seemed like Obama’s retirement would be a prime reason to keep the pointed remarks coming. But an analysis by The Washington Post found that Obama’s vacation days while on retirement still had not surpassed those taken by the president as of August. “I’m not going to have time to go play golf,” Trump once said. “I don’t think we’ll be very big on vacations.” According to the analysis, “by the end of August, Trump will have spent all or part of 53 days in office at leisure, compared with 15 days for Obama through August 2009.” Trump also reportedly played twice as many rounds of golf as Obama in the president’s first six months in office.

Obama first weighed in on President Trump nine days after the latter took office, when he released a statement disapproving of Trump’s ban on travelers and refugees entering the United States from a handful Muslim-majority countries. His spokesman said, “the President fundamentally disagrees with the notion of discriminating against individuals because of their faith.” He kept mostly quiet after this statement, but many believed that Obama would challenge Trump more openly and aggressively in the coming months.

Perhaps more surprisingly, it was Trump administration that continued to fixate on the Obama administration, undercutting his predecessor in various tweets and public statements. The most harped on issue that Trump continued to bring up was his allegations that the Obama administration had tapped and used surveillance on his team, even though Trump has not yet found evidence to prove his suspicion. Some believe this worry has been brought on by the investigation into Russia’s meddling with the 2016 election and leaking of private government information to the media.

25 / 25
Gage Skidmore // Flickr

#1. Donald Trump

The year’s top Newsmaker is none other than President Donald J. Trump, a man who inspired you to read over 20,000 articles from 210 partners. If he wasn’t directly involved in news events, he was talked about in the news or he was making his own on Twitter.

Among the biggest pieces of news about Trump that you read this year, you especially were interested in the president’s net worth ($3.5 billion, despite having touted that he had $10 billion during his campaign), his controversial decision to pull the U.S. out of the Paris Climate Agreement, and his tendency to go off book from what his team has advised.

The only country at the G-20 summit in Germany to disagree to the terms of the 2015 Paris climate agreement (negotiated by the Obama administration), the U.S. withdrawal from the Paris Climate Agreement stunned many Americans and foreigners alike.

Former Vice President Al Gore, a champion of environmental reform and a believer in climate change, expressed his vehement dismay at the decision. After the election, he had gone to Trump Tower to try to convince the president to take climate change seriously, but realized that his attempts were futile. “I thought that there was a chance he would come to his senses,” Gore told "Late Show" host Stephen Colbert. “But I was wrong." Other countries have said that they will do their part to work without the U.S. on climate, and even several states have committed to keeping environmental concerns at the forefront. But some still haven’t given up hope — President of France Emmanuel Macron has said that he will continue to try to convince Trump to change his mind.

And when it came to polarizing decisions, the one that took place in Charlottesville, Virginia in August might have topped the year. White supremacists had marched on the University of Virginia campus to protest the removal of the statue of Confederate icon Robert E. Lee, counter-protesters came in droves, and the event culminated in a car plowing into a crowd and killing counter-protester Heather Heyer. Trump’s response to the events, in which he blamed ‘many sides’ for the violence immediately ignited widespread outrage.

According to NBC News, after strategizing with his advisory team, the president planned to extinguish the controversy of his last response by highlighting the infrastructure executive order he had just signed, and then leaving without taking any questions. But according to a White House official, President Trump “went rogue,” and instead defended his previous statement.

These Newsmakers are bound to grab your attention well into 2018, but who knows — the coming months may introduce some new, fiery characters into your newsfeed.

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