/A Brief History of Cursing in Presidential Debates

A Brief History of Cursing in Presidential Debates

Andrew Yang said “asses” in Thursday’s debate.
Photo: Drew Angerer/Getty Images

Andrew Yang, the entrepreneur who didn’t wear a tie to the second Democratic debate Thursday night, wasn’t one of the most vocal candidates on the stage. But he was one of the most profane.

Russia, Yang said, is the biggest geopolitical threat to the United States. The Kremlin, he said, is “hacking our Democracy” and has been “laughing their asses off for the last couple of years.”

It’s not common for presidential candidates to use even slightly salty language on the debate stage. But we’ve seen plenty of it the past two nights. On Wednesday, former HUD secretary Julián Castro said “piss.” It’s one of George Carlin’s seven dirty words!

The viral image of a dead migrant man and his toddler taken over the weekend “should piss us all off,” Castro said.

Bernie Sanders later got in on the act himself, declaring that on his first day in office he would “rescind every damn thing” Trump has done on the issue of immigration.

Four years ago, Sanders also said “damn” during the first 2016 Democratic primary debate, which, by the way, happened in October and only had five candidates onstage.

As the debate neared its end, Mayor Pete Buttigieg didn’t want to be left out. So he said “pissed.”

Of course, we’ve seen Republican candidates get far more vulgar during debates, even if they didn’t resort to cursing.