12 Of History’s Greatest Political Insults

Here are 12 of history’s best insults to include a new all-time favorite from yesterday. 

Talking trash about your political opponent is an American tradition that did not originate with Donald Trump or Twitter. Indeed, the art of hurling political insults goes back long before America was a country.

From Thomas Paine to Abraham Lincoln, from Teddy Roosevelt to Harry S. Truman – here are eleven of our favorite political insults in history plus a new favorite from yesterday, compliments of Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi.

We put them in alphabetical order to avoid the chaos of trying to put them out in order of belly-laughs. Be sure to let us know your favorites as well as any of your favorites that we did not include in this version of our list.

1. John Quincy Adams on Andrew Jackson:

“[Andrew Jackson is] a barbarian who could not write a sentence of grammar and hardly could spell his own name.”

2. Congressman Barney Frank on George W. Bush:

“People might cite George Bush as proof that you can be totally impervious to the effects of Harvard and Yale education.”

3. Commentator Jim Hightower on George H.W. Bush:

“If ignorance ever goes to $40 a barrel, I want drilling rights on George Bush’s head.”

4. Lyndon Johnson on Gerald Ford:

“Jerry Ford is so dumb that he can’t fart and chew gum at the same time.”

5. Congressman Jack Kemp on Senator Bob Dole: 

“In a recent fire, Bob Dole’s library burned down. Both books were lost and he hadn’t even finished coloring one of them.”

6. Abraham Lincoln on Stephen Douglas:

“His argument is as thin as the homeopathic soup that was made by boiling the shadow of a pigeon that had been starved to death.”

7. Thomas Paine on President John Adams:

“Some people talk of impeaching John Adams, but I am for softer measures. I would keep him to make fun of him.”

8. Ann Richards on George W. Bush: 

“Poor George, he can’t help it. He was born with a silver foot in his mouth.”

9. Then-Assistant Secretary of the Navy Teddy Roosevelt on President William McKinley:

“No more backbone than a chocolate eclair.”

10. Vice President Adlai Stevenson on the Republican Party:

“If they will stop telling lies about the Democrats, we will stop telling the truth about them.”

11. President Harry S. Truman on then-General Dwight D. Eisenhower:

“The General doesn’t know any more about politics than a pig knows about Sunday”

12. Nancy Pelosi on Trump’s beloved wall: 

“A wall is an immorality. It’s not who we are as a nation. And this is not a wall between Mexico and the United States that the president is creating here– it’s a wall between reality and his constituents.”


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