President-elect Donald Trump rocketed from No. 72 on Forbes annual list of “The World’s Most Powerful People” in 2015 to No. 2 this time around. “Donald Trump is trading in Trump Tower for the White House,” Forbes notes in a jaunty review. “The New York native will become the first billionaire president of the United States, after upsetting Hillary Clinton in a surprising election victory.” Mrs. Clinton does not appear on the list at all. President Obama is ranked No. 48. Last year, he was No. 2.
“Any ranking of the world’s most powerful people is going to be subjective, so we don’t pretend ours is definitive. It’s meant to be the beginning of a conversation, not the final word,” notes Forbes contributing editor David Ewalt.
And who is the tip top of the list? That would be Russia President Vladimir Putin, who’s been there for a while.
“The world’s most powerful person for four years running, Russia’s president has exerted his country’s influence in nearly every corner of the globe; from the motherland to Syria to the U.S. presidential elections, Putin continues to get what he wants,” Forbes says. “Unconstrained by conventional global norms, his reach has magnified in recent years. In 2016 Russian hackers were accused of tapping into email accounts owned by members of the U.S. Democratic Party in a bid to aid the campaign of Donald Trump, who has regularly praised Putin’s leadership style. The Kremlin denies the charges, and President-elect Trump has also dismissed the possibility of outsiders tampering in the election, despite a reported CIA memo suggesting otherwise. Either way, with a likely ally entering the White House, Putin’s power may go largely unchecked for years to come.”
The lengthy power list includes 74 assorted elected officials, politicians, rulers, entrepreneurs, economic wizards, billionaires, CEOs and clergy. After Mssrs. Putin and Trump, German Chancellor Angela Merkel is in third place, followed by Chinese President Xi Jinping, Pope Francis, Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen, Microsoft founder Bill Gates, Google CEO Larry Page, Indian Prime Minister and Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg.