Politics is a dirty business, and although politicians have to appeal to a broad section of society including straight-laced, buttoned-down squares who would never curse or lift their middle finger even when provoked, most politicians have pretty severe potty mouths behind closed doors. It’s part of the political culture.
But sometimes a swear word slips through on a hot mic. Or when they’ve hit the limit of their patience, even the following famous politicians will brazenly put up a middle finger and flip off their interlocutors. On camera. Other times they’ll try to sneak one in and play it off as an articulating gesture or a scratch of the cheek. But you might be surprised which one flipped off the camera just for a laugh.
15. President Obama Flips John McCain The Bird
Back in 2008 on the campaign trail, shortly before winning an election with historical turnout, especially among minorities and women, President Obama had a backhanded compliment to give Republican presidential candidate John McCain, accompanied with a sly flip of his middle finger.
Obama said the following in a televised speech: “Now Senator McCain has served this country honorably. And at the end of this long race I wanna congratulate him on the tough race that he has fought,” and after he completed this sentence, it appears that the President gave McCain the finger.
14. Senator Rand Paul (R-KY) Flips Off Fox Business
After low polling numbers excluded the illustrious Kentucky Senator Rand Paul from a Republican presidential primary debate hosted by Fox Business, the very articulate young senator was fuming. When asked in an ABC News Radio interview if he had a message to the press, Paul put up a middle finger.
13. George W. Bush Flips Off Camera And Laughs
In a hilarious video dating back before George W. Bush‘s presidency, most likely to his days running for governor in Texas, Bush is preparing for a television interview. Ever the Yale frat boy, he fixes his hair and then suddenly flips off the camera to whoops and laughter from the people in the studio. Bush sports a huge grin and snickers. One woman can be heard exclaiming, “Were we rolling tape on that? Oh my…” Bush responds in his trademark Texas accent, “It’s a one-fingered victory salute!”
12. Vice President Joe Biden Flips Off Paul Ryan During VP Debate
Vice President Joe Biden, you know the guy who got caught on a hot mic telling President Obama “This is a big f*cking deal!” at his speech about getting ObamaCare passed? During the 2012 Vice Presidential debate, Joe Biden, well-known for being a loose cannon, appears to give Paul Ryan the middle finger while criticizing the Republican ticket.
11. Former Mexican President Vincente Fox Gives Trump The Finger
During a now famous interview, former Mexican President Vincente Fox did not mince words with respect to Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump. Though the interview was in Spanish, when he got to his message for Donald Trump, Fox switched to English, saying, “I am not going to pay for this f*cking wall.” He followed up on that the next day with a photo of him smiling into the camera and flipping Trump the bird.
10. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) Flips The Bird
Former Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, who somehow ascended to the post despite being inhumanly unremarkable and forgettable, did show a little spirit back in November of 2009 when the ObamaCare debate was at its most volatile. An image of him sticking up his middle finger started making its rounds about that time.
9. Republican Senator Jim Bunning (KY) Flips Off Reporter
Rand Paul isn’t the only Kentucky senator who can throw fingers. In a tragic accident of history that can never be rectified, no one actually caught this one on camera, but it was widely reported when long-serving Senator Jim Bunning, widely known at the time as the most conservative man in the Senate, got irritated with an ABC News reporter after rebuffing his attempts to get an interview. Bunning stormed away with his hand in the air above his head, flying a middle finger to show his disdain.
8. Vice President Nelson Rockefeller Flips Off Young Hecklers
This is one of the oldest photos of a US politician flipping the bird, and this one is a true classic! Vice President Nelson Rockefeller was giving a speech at Binghamton University in New York when some young hecklers in the crowd found the limits of his patience. Not too square to sling a middle finger, the Vice President cheerfully flips the students off and he really sticks the landing. Just look at that form! (That’s Bob Dole photobombing in the background.)
7. German Vice Chancellor Sigmar Gabriel Gives Nazis The Bird
German Vice Chancellor Sigmar Gabriel had heard enough from a group of Nazi protestors. In a video that circulated earlier this year, the Nazis can be heard calling Gabriel a “race-traitor,” accusing him of being a communist, and referencing his father, who was a Nazi sympathizer: “Your father loved his country, and what do you do? You destroy it.” The liberal Vice Chancellor can be seen laughing it off before putting his middle digit up high for the Nazis to see.
6. Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke Had Enough
Now this isn’t typically seen as a political role, but its undoubtedly intertwined with the political workings of the US government and the wealthy elite. And Bernanke may not have intended to flip us off with this gesture, but hell if it isn’t the most perfect image to capture the attitude many think Bernanke has for America’s struggling workers as his Federal Reserve more than doubled the adjusted monetary base, obliterating the purchasing power of every one of those hard-earned dollars.
5. Disgraced Congressman Anthony Weiner (D-NY) Gives NYC The Finger
Former Congressman Anthony Weiner – well-known for having a potty mouth – had planned a big comeback bid after resigning from Congress in the grip of a dick pic tweeting scandal. But while running for mayor of New York, and even starting to gain traction, a second Twitter scandal knocked the wind out of his sails and sent his campaign into free fall. After losing the mayoral primary, the former congressman gave his concession speech and flashed reporters his middle finger as he rolled away in his car. They were probably lucky that’s all he flashed them!
4. Senator Barbara Boxer (D-CA) Flips Off Bernie Sanders Supporters in Nevada
The 2016 Democratic State Convention in Nevada was very heated. Disenfranchised Bernie Sanders supporters became unruly and booed Senator Boxer off the stage. As she exited, the senior Senator from California turned around and gave Bernie’s supporters the middle finger.
3. President Of The Philippines Rodrigo Duterte Flips Off European Union
Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte has made quite the reputation for himself as a volatile and dangerous president. Since taking office, he has started a campaign against drug users involving extra-judicial killings, and has even said that he wants to be to drug users in the Philippines what Hitler was to the Jews. Well, the international community isn’t so cool with presidents rounding up citizens and shooting them with no charges and no fair trial. When the European Union came out and criticized Duterte for his campaign of terror against drug users, his answer for them was his middle finger.
2. President George Bush Senior Accidentally Gives Aussies “The Forks”
To be fair to the President, he didn’t know what he was doing was wrong. When George Bush Sr. visited Australia in 1992, he flashed a crowd of Aussies the “V for victory” sign as he rode past in his armored car. What he didn’t know, was that this WWII sign for victory means something entirely different in the land down under. It’s called giving “the forks” and it’s the Aussie equivalent of putting up your middle finger. So George Bush unwittingly flipped all these Australians off.
1. Donald Trump Is A Walking, Breathing Middle Finger In The Air
While he hasn’t been caught on camera giving the middle finger, which is pretty surprising when you consider what he has been caught on camera doing and saying, Donald Trump himself is the middle finger of an insurgent movement within the Republican Party. A lot of them are even referring to their vote as a “middle finger” vote against the establishment. How that will turn out for them and the rest of America, time will surely tell.