A Czech Republic political candidate made headlines this week, not for his policy but for his face full of tattoos. There may not be anyone that extreme in Washington, but American politicians have been hiding their own ink under blazers and congressional pins for years. Congressional Representatives, members of the White House cabinet and even presidents have indulged in the painful practice of body art.
Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr. uses his arms as a form of expression, with tattoos to symbolize his family; his fraternity, Omega Psi Phi; and even Bruce Lee.
Rep. Dan Boren also has a fraternity tattoo. He joined Kappa Sigma.
Rep. Mary Bono Mack made a pit stop at a tattoo parlor shortly after 9/11. There she got a tattoo of a cross as a proclamation of her faith.
Rep. Duncan Hunter, a former Marine Corps officer, has tattoos on his arms to commemorate his three deployments to Iraq and Afghanistan.
The late Sen. Barry Goldwater, R-Ariz., the Republican Party’s nominee for President in 1964, had four small stars and a half moon on the underside of his wrist. According to Roll Call the tattoo was intended to symbolize his “participation in the Smoki People, a group of largely white, Native American culture enthusiasts in the Southwest.”
President Theodore Roosevelt had his family crest tattooed on his chest.
Just because politicians are typically buttoned up does not mean that they can’t have a little fun with their artistic creations. Former Secretary of State George P. Shultz has a tiger, the mascot of his alma mater, Princeton, tattooed on the left side of his derriere. According to a Chicago Tribune piece published in 1987, confirmation of Shultz’s racy rear end came from his wife, Helena. She confirmed the rumors to reporters on the secretary’s plane during a trip to China.
Other politicians, whether or not they got their own tattoos, have inspired others. The faces of John F. Kennedy, Barack Obama, Abraham Lincoln and Sarah Palin have all graced the bodies of supporters (or their opposition).
Even pop super star Miley Cyrus recently inked up her arm with a Theodore Roosevelt quote that reads, “So that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who knew neither victory nor defeat.”