One new anti-Donald Trump ad being run by Jeb Bush supporters in South Carolina doesn’t exactly mince words: the clip relies on soundbites of Trump using vulgarities during political discussions to portray him as unpresidential and lacking in values.
But Trump isn’t the only person in American political history to use the odd expletive to make a point. Others like Rand Paul and Jeb Bush — yes, Jeb Bush, though generally in a much gentler way—have used strong language in their campaigns, so much so that some observers have called the trend a sign of a pro-profanity cultural shift. Nor is that trend limited to candidates:President Obama and Vice President Biden have both been known to let a less-than-polite word slip.
To be fair, other observers drew the same conclusion from the politics of 2012 — and, while the words used have evolved, political cursing has a long history in U.S. politics. After all, it was George Washington himself who “swore … till the leaves shook on the trees” after the Revolutionary War’s Battle of Monmouth Courthouse.