Even some of the people who are complaining about President Donald Trump’s alleged use of foul language are old enough to remember that time a hot mic caught then-Vice President Joe Biden dropping an f-bomb:
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But Biden’s verbal slip was far from the first or only one made by the executive branch.
Harry S. Truman
He was known as “Give ’em Hell Harry,” and one who could speak to that from experience was fired Gen. Douglas MacArthur. The World War II hero — one of only a few generals to earn the coveted and prestigious fifth star — also earned a profanity-laced rant from Harry Truman.
In a December 3, 1973, article in Time magazine, Truman reportedly said in the early 1960s that he fired Gen. Douglas MacArthur “because he wouldn’t respect the authority of the president.”
“I didn’t fire him because he was a dumb son of a bitch, although he was, but that’s not against the law for generals. If it was, half to three-quarters of them would be in jail.”
John F. Kennedy
Naval hero-turned-President John F. Kennedy took the notion of “swearing like a sailor” quite literally, at least behind closed doors.
Eloquent at the podium, JFK could swear like a sailor (which he was, of course) away from the microphone. When word leaked that the Air Force had spent $5000 to furnish a maternity suite for Jackie Kennedy at Otis Air Force Base, the president knew the expenditure would be used as a political football. “This is obviously a f**k-up,” he fumed to a hapless general over the phone.
Lyndon B. Johnson
Paul F. Boller wrote in his book, “Presidential Anecdotes,” that Lyndon B. Johnson was one of the most colorful men to occupy the Oval Office:
LBJ was probably the earthiest man ever to occupy the White House. Asked, while he was Senate Majority Leader, why he didn’t take one of Vice President Nixon’s speeches more seriously, he exclaimed, “Boys, I may not know much, but I know the difference between chicken s**t and chicken salad.” Of a Kennedy aide he once said: “He doesn’t have sense enough to pour piss out of a boot with the instructions written on the heel.”
Andrew Jackson’s … Parrot
Rev. William Menefee Norment, who attended the funeral of President Andrew Jackson, described the scene as Jackson’s parrot (also in attendance) becoming agitated and delivering a few choice phrases apparently learned from his owner:
“Before the sermon and while the crowd was gathering, a wicked parrot that was a household pet, got excited and commenced swearing so loud and long as to disturb the people and had to be carried from the house.”
President Barack Obama, during the 2012 campaign, famously referred to his Republican opponent Mitt Romney as a “bulls**tter” and that’s not all. He was quite blunt in his response to the BP oil spill in 2010 as well: “I don’t sit around just talking to experts because this is a college seminar. We talk to these folks because they potentially have the best answers, so I know whose a** to kick.”
George W. Bush
In 2000, then-candidate George W. Bush delivered a hot-mic moment that took aim at New York Times reporter Adam Clymer:
While campaigning for president in 2000, George W. Bush leaned over to his running mate, Dick Cheney, as they waited at the podium for a rally to begin and commented on the presence of New York Times reporter Adam Clymer. Believing he had an audience of one, Bush called Clymer a “major-league a**hole.”
Trouble was, the microphone in front of them was already live, and many in the audience heard the offhand comment loud and clear. After he’d taken office, Bush used his sense of humor to offer an apology of sorts when he taped a message for the press corps attending an annual dinner, calling Clymer a “major league a** . . . et.”
Bush’s vice president, Dick Cheney, didn’t need a hot mic to get caught uttering profanity — in fact, he later looked back on this particular incident as “sort of the best thing I ever did.”
Cheney told Sen. Patrick Leahy on June 24, 2004, to “go f**k yourself” when the Vermont Democrat blasted Halliburton’s role in Iraq.
Halliburton, as you may recall, was once under the helm of Cheney, who was chairman and CEO of the company.
While a few of these did receive some media attention — namely those that are more recent — none achieved the level of frenzy that President Trump’s “s**thole countries” comment inspired.