Politicians and feuds go hand and hand. It’s not uncommon for them to start them, either while in office or campaigning to get there. A few politicians, both foreign and domestic, have even said some shocking and really inappropriate things about their adversaries. President Trump, for example, referenced Pocahontas in November 2017, his nickname for Sen. Elizabeth Warren, during a White House event honoring Navajo code talkers.
Believe it or not, even the Pope isn’t immune to some politician’s criticism. See who made our list.
President Trump Called The Pope “Disgraceful”
One of President Trump’s promises during his campaign was to build a wall between the United States and Mexico. Little did he know that his plan would rile up the man who millions of people believe speaks directly to God. In 2016, Pope Francis was on his way back to Italy from Mexico when reporters asked him about Trump’s proposal. He responded: “A person who thinks only about building walls — wherever they may be — and not building bridges, is not Christian.” Trump was quick to hit back at the pope’s comment, saying it was “unbelievable” and “disgraceful.”
Vice President Lyndon B. Johnson & Robert F. Kennedy Feuded For Years
In 1961, during a dinner at the White House, Vice President Lyndon B. Johnson confronted Attorney General Robert F. Kennedy, demanding, ”Bobby, you do not like me. Your brother likes me. Your sister-in-law likes me. Your daddy likes me. But you don’t like me. Now, why? Why don’t you like me?” The feud began during JFK’s presidential campaign when Johnson brought up Kennedy’s health problems and the fact that he was Catholic. Robert Kennedy took the criticism extremely personally. After Johnson became president, the animosity grew, particularly during the Vietnam War. Johnson blamed Kennedy for spreading ”lies” about him and being in cahoots with ”those bomb-throwing… fuzzy-headed Georgetown liberals.”
Kim Jung Un Called Trump A “Dotard”
North Korean dictators are no strangers to insulting U.S. officials. Former North Korean leaders described Lyndon B. Johnson as a “living corpse,” George W. Bush as a “tyrannical imbecile” and Barack Obama as a “clown” and a “monkey.” But the insults have gotten even worse ever since President Trump took office. After Trump called Kim Jung Un the “Rocket Man on a suicide mission,” the North Korean dictator responded by using the 14th-century-word “dotard” to describe his adversary. The word means “an old person, especially one who has become weak or senile.” We’re not sure whose insult was worse.
A Senator Nearly Killed Another Politician With A Cane In The 1850s
In 1856, Representative Preston Brooks (D-SC) assaulted Senator Charles Sumner (R-MA) with a metal-tipped walking cane, severely injuring him. Sumner was an abolitionist who had given a speech a few days earlier in which he slammed slave owners, including a man who was one of Brooks’ relatives. Brooks originally wanted a duel but was talked out of it. Instead, he nearly killed Sumner during the attack with his cane. He was given a $300 fine. The incident blew up the discussion about slavery in the United States and was one of the leading events to the American Civil War.
George H.W. Bush Called Clinton & Gore “Two Bozos”
In 1992, George H. W. Bush started to realized that he was about to lose the election to the governor of Arkansas, Bill Clinton. He wound up calling his Democratic opponents Bill Clinton and Al Gore “bozos.” He stated: “My dog Millie knows more about foreign policy than these two bozos.” The comment was not lost on Americans, many of whom thought it was completely ridiculous. Paul Begala, who helped oversee Clinton’s ’92 campaign, said: “The more he said stuff like that, the more he looked out of touch. I mean, Clinton’s a lot of things, but he ain’t a bozo. He ain’t stupid.”
Trump Viciously Insulted Reporter Megyn Kelly
Following the first 2016 GOP debate, Fox News host Megyn Kelly called Trump out on his descriptions of women after labeling them “fat pigs, dogs, slobs and disgusting animals.” Trump was quite upset by the comment and later criticized Kelly for her commentary, insinuating to CNN that she was asking such bold questions because she was menstruating: “You could see there was blood coming out of her eyes, blood coming out of her… wherever.” He later insulted her on social media and retweeted messages from followers her called her a bimbo. He never apologized but instead stated that she should say sorry to him.
Hugo Chavez Had Choice Words For President George W. Bush
Former Venezuelan president Hugo Chávez didn’t pull any punches when he verbally attacked President George W. Bush. He once said of our former leader, “The devil came here yesterday, and it smells of sulfur still today,” during a meeting with the United Nations General Assembly in 2006. Bush had just spoken to the assembly the previous day. Chavez also labeled Bush as “Mr. Danger” and “the drunken cowboy.” He went even further by calling the American President “more dangerous than a monkey with a razor blade.” Chavez was president until 2013 following his death from a heart attack. He also battled colon cancer.
Roosevelt’s Team Called Hoover A “Fat, Timid, Capon”
During the 1932 presidential election, Republican incumbent Herbert Hoover and his challenger, Democrat Franklin D. Roosevelt, didn’t pull any punches. Roosevelt’s campaign called his opponent a “fat, timid capon” (a castrated cock), but Hoover had his own insults up his sleeve. He suggested that Roosevelt flip-flopped on several important issues and called him “a chameleon on plaid.” Roosevelt ended up winning the election in a landslide, taking both the electoral and popular vote. Roosevelt united the Democratic party and pointed out the various failures of Hoover’s administration. He promised the American people that his “New Deal” would lead them out of the Depression.
Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte Took Aim At Obama, The Pope & Trump
Rodrigo Duterte, the president of the Philippines, is known for telling it like it is. He doesn’t care who he offends or whether he’s hurting anyone’s feelings. He called former President Obama as well as Pope Francis a “son of a w—e.” He also labeled a U.S. ambassador a gay “son of a b—h.” During the 2016 presidential campaign, he was asked to compare himself to Donald Trump. Obviously insulted by the suggestion, he noted: “Donald Trump is a bigot, and I am not.” He also told reporters he would kill as many drug addicts as Hitler did Jews.
John McCain Vs. Donald Trump
Donald Trump started his feud with John McCain at the start of his presidential campaign in 2015. McCain was first angered by the candidate after he called Mexican immigrants “rapists.” A few months later, Trump called out McCain’s service during the Vietnam War. Trump insinuated that people who were prisoners of war (POWs) were not war heroes because they were captured. He said that he liked “people that weren’t captured.” McCain was a Navy aviator who was shot down in 1967. He was a POW for more than five years. Other actions, including the 2005 sex-talk recording, caused McCain to withdraw his support from Trump.
New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie Insults Everyone
Over the years, it hasn’t been uncommon for New Jersey Governor Chris Christie (R) to take aim at his opponents. He once called an openly gay lawmaker “numbnuts.” He labeled a Navy SEAL an “idiot” and called the state Senate budget committee chairman an “arrogant SOB.” Angry at state Sen. Loretta Weinberg( D), he suggested that reporters “take a bat” to her, even though she was a grandmotherly figure in her 70s. He is one of the least popular governors in the United States and failed to receive the presidential nomination when he ran for office in 2016.
This Florida Senator Was Forced To Resign Over Racial Slurs
Florida Sen. Frank Artiles resigned from the state’s legislature following a scandal in which he lashed out against two lawmakers at a bar in Tallahassee. He was drunk when he called Sen. Audrey Gibson, D-Jacksonville, the “B” word and also referred to some of his fellow Republicans as “n—-s.” He apologized on the Senate floor, but that wasn’t enough. Three days after the incident came to light, he stepped down. He said in a statement: “My actions and my presence in government is now a distraction to my colleagues, the legislative process, and the citizens of our great State.”
Nothing’s Worse Than Being Called A “Mutton-Headed Old Mugwump”
In 2017, U.K. foreign minister Boris Johnson called opposition leader Jeremy Corbyn a “mutton-headed old mugwump.” We give him credit for his creativity. But this phrase confused a lot of Americans, who had no idea what the word “mugwump” meant. It actually has its roots in America and is a Native American term from Massachusetts that means “war leader.” It’s been jokingly used to describe someone who is a bit finicky. One particularly funny 1930s humorist defined the word mugwump as “a bird who sits with its mug on one side of the fence and its wump on the other.”
Trump Vs. Everyone Else Campaigning For President
President Trump spent a large part of his presidential campaign hurling insults at his opponents. He didn’t pull any punches as he gave them various nicknames both at political rallies and on social media (including on his favorite platform, Twitter.) His Democrat opponent Hillary Clinton was one of his biggest targets. He labeled her “Lying Hillary” and “Crooked Hillary.” He also hit out at his Republican rivals, calling Jeb Bush “Low-energy Jeb” and Ted Crus “Lying Ted Cruz.” Few escaped his wrath, including critics and the media. He even mocked one disabled reporter who questioned him about his campaign.
Roy Moore’s Racial Slurs
Roy Moore, a Republican who been embroiled in multiple sexual harassment accusations, used racial slurs during a campaign speech. While seeking a Senate seat in Alabama, the ultra-conservative former chief justice of the Alabama Supreme Court talked about racial divisions. He stated: “We have blacks and whites fighting, reds and yellows fighting, Democrats and Republicans fighting, men and women fighting.” The words “red” and “yellow” in that context are considered to be racial slurs. Moore defended himself, quoting a Bible song: “Red, yellow, black and white they are precious in His sight. Jesus loves the little children of the world. This is the Gospel.”
Thomas Jefferson Vs. Aaron Burr Vs. Alexander Hamilton & A Duel To The Death
One of the earliest political feuds occurred between Thomas Jefferson and Aaron Burr. The pair disliked each other before the presidential elections in 1800 and shared petty insults and personally attacked each other’s characters. Jefferson and Burr each received 73 electoral votes, making it a tie. But Jefferson eventually won the election. Then in 1804, Burr and Alexander Hamilton were involved in a duel in which Burr fatally wounded and killed his opponent. He was charged with murder in two states but was never taken to court. His actions further fueled the animosity the two shared, and Jefferson was pretty angry at it all.
Jefferson Called John Adams A “Hideous Hermaphroditical Character”
Political insults have been around since the dawn of the United States. And even the Founding Fathers had some clever, yet rude, ways to describe their political adversaries. Members of Thomas Jefferson’s campaign described John Adams during the 1800 president election as a “hideous hermaphroditical character, which has neither the force and firmness of a man, nor the gentleness and sensibility of a woman.” Ouch! That’s a pretty rough way to attack an opponent. Adams’ son, John Quincy Adams, later hit back at Jefferson in his diary, writing that he was “a slur upon the moral government of the world.”
These Two European Leaders Also Butted Heads
Winston Churchill and Charles de Gaulle had a turbulent relationship that they managed to overcome to defeat Hitler during World War II. De Gaulle once said of the British leader: “He thinks he’s Joan of Arc, but I can’t get my bloody bishops to burn him.” Churchill once called the long-necked French leader: “He looks like a female llama who has been surprised in the bath.” De Gaulle also said of the British Prime Minister: “When I am right, I get angry. Churchill gets angry when he is wrong. We are angry at each other much of the time.”
One Political Opponent Attacked Lincoln’s Humble Roots
During the 1860 election, one of Abraham Lincoln’s opponents was Stephen A. Douglas. The pair often disagreed and two years previously had taken part in the famous Lincoln–Douglas debates. Douglas insulted the future President during some stump speeches, taking aim at his opponent’s previous profession as a shopkeeper. Lincoln responded: “I did keep a grocery, and I did sell cotton candles, and cigars, and sometimes whiskey. But I remember in those days, Mr. Douglas was one of my best customers … but the difference between us now is this: I have left my side of the counter, but Mr. Douglas still sticks to his as tenaciously as ever.”
Andrew Jackson Called John Quincy Adams A Bigamist Who Married A Prostitute
While seeking a seat in the House in the early 1800s, Andrew Jackson and John Quincy Adams ran a tough campaign in which they verbally attacked one another. During a House runoff election in 1824, Adams won despite the fact that Jackson received significantly more popular and electoral votes. Their anger towards each other multiplied in 1828 when they ran against each other once again. Adams’ people called Jackson a bigamist and his wife a hooker, while Jackson’s people claimed Adams promised diplomatic colleagues the use of concubines. Jackson won the election, but his wife died before the inauguration. He blamed her death on Adams’ vicious campaigning.