Tattoos in Politics | Painful Pleasures Community

Tattoos in Politics

Under their power suits, politicians have a flesh canvas like everyone else. Find out which big name political figures, past and present, had the guts to go under the needle.

by andrew Last Updated: May 16, 2021

tattooed politicians, caroline kennedy, kennedy tattoo


It’s not always pretty, but it is easy to imagine a tattoo for prominent American politicians. Maybe there is a tattoo of a boot on Donald Trump’s wrinkled ass with text reading, “You’re Fired!” Maybe George Bush has a tattoo of the Twin Towers that says, “Inside Job.” I wouldn't be surprised if Barack Obama has a tattoo of his birth certificate after all the uproar; but all joking aside, there are some big name political figures with ink. It is hard to tell with their long sleeves and pants, but there are probably more than you expected. I was surprised to learn that our 26th president, Teddy Roosevelt, was a tattoo enthusiast with a tattoo of his family’s crest inked across his chest.

Politician tattoo, Ted CruzSurprisingly, Barry Goldwater, a very conservative senator from Arizona didn’t bother hiding his ink. He got a tattoo of a moon with several dots on his hand, which was a symbol of the Smoki People, a group based in Arizona that aimed to preserve Native American traditions. Currently, Mary Bono is the only female member of Congress to admit that she has some ink. Shortly after September 11th, she got a cross on her ankle as a symbol of her faith.

Even Winston Churchill, the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom during World War Two, had a tattoo. As the man in charge of the British navy, it makes sense that he got an anchor on his forearm. Perhaps the most tattooed politician in the United States is Jesse Jackson Jr. With two half-sleeves, he is not shy about his enthusiasm for tattooing, as he reportedly tries to add a new tattoo to his body every year. One of the earliest tattooed politicians in America is Andrew Jackson, the seventh president of the United States, who had a tattoo of a tomahawk on his thigh. The rationale behind the design isn't clear, but Jackson was a tough and violent man, and maybe that’s all the reason he needed.

There are probably a lot of politicians who have had tattoos removed too, either realizing that it clashed with their diplomatic image, that it could hurt them in the polls, or maybe it just didn’t fit their personality. Caroline Kennedy, who got a tattoo of a tiny butterfly on a trip to Hong Kong as a part of a dare, later removed it because it clashed with her wardrobe. Maybe the funniest of them all is George Shultz, former Secretary of the Treasury and Secretary of State, who got his college mascot (a tiger) tattooed on his ass.

Teddy Roosevelt tattoo, president tattoo

Clearly, getting inked isn’t a kiss of death for a person’s political career, but don’t expect to find anything too racy or inappropriate. Many of the tattooed politicians served in the armed services at some point in their career, and they pay tribute to that time in their lives with a tattoo. So until more congressmen and women admit to more risque tattoos, we will have to use our imagination, and dream of all the awful things Hillary Clinton might have tattooed underneath that pantsuit.


Comments are closed here.

Follow us @ Instagram