Swearing in public is looked down on in American society and is viewed as unprofessional, and it applies to politics, too. But this cultural norm did not faze 2020 Democratic Party presidential candidate Beto O’Rourke within the past several months.
After the El Paso, Texas mass shooting, Beto O’Rourke let the profanities fly while on the campaign trail and on television. While on CNN’s “State of the Nation,” O’Rourke spoke about mass shootings and gun violence and said, “We’re averaging about 300 mass shootings a year, no other country comes close — so yes, this is f—ed up.”
To follow it up, O’Rourke tweeted out a link to the CNN show clip and included the f-word in his description, which said, “Thoughts and prayers have done nothing to stop the epidemic of gun violence. Yes, this is f–ked up; and if we don’t call it out for what it is, we will continue to have this bloodshed in America.”
The same day, O’Rourke defended his use of the f-word on Twitter because “Profanity is not the f-bomb. What is profane is a 17-month-old baby being shot in the face.”
Profanity is not the f-bomb. What is profane is a 17 month-old baby being shot in the face. pic.twitter.com/mUuK12Rxbp
— Beto O'Rourke (@BetoORourke) September 1, 2019
Politico criticized O’Rourke’s use of profanity and said that his campaign is “apparently hoping that vulgarity will be an engine of his political revival in the Democratic presidential contest.” The news outlet also went into detail on how several Democratic Party lawmakers have used swear words to try to galvanize their supporters, such as Rep. Rashida Tlaib telling an audience, “we’re gonna impeach the mother****er” in reference to President Donald Trump.
CBS News covered O’Rourke’s campaign selling t-shirts that had the vulgar phrase, “this is f*cked up” six times and noted that it “is unusual for campaign wear in that it prominently features profanity.”
Yet, the mainstream media did not reference how O’Rourke has sworn on the campaign trail before. While running against Sen. Ted Cruz in the 2018 midterm elections, he dropped a f-word in his concession speech, which the media apologized for airing the profanity and said they had not control over concession speech content.