Trump’s Profane Language Analysis,- If the Trump Administration were a movie, it would be rated R for language. Many politicans curse, but only rarely in public. But Donald Trump has taken the practice to new heights, regularly using vulgar language in televised rallies. Most recently, he insulted professional athletes like Colin Kaepernick who take a knee during the national anthem.

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Trump used to be even more profane, using a particularly vulgar therm in 2006 to criticize then-Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice. One notorious speech in 2011 was laced with f-bombs about China and other subjects. His use of profanity can be strategic. A study found that people thought legal testimony was more credible when it included swear words. And another study in Italy found that they had more favorable impressions of political candidates who cursed.

Swearing plays into Trump’s self-image as a truthteller, unafraid of being politically incorrect. He’s also used it for emphasis, to show that while everyone else promises to, say, fight terrorists, he’ll be tougher. Trump also uses curse words to belittle and denigrate his opponents, as he did while running against Texas Senator Ted Cruz in the Republican primary.

Trump’s public use of cursing has started to catch on, especially among Democrats. But there’s a paradox. While Trump’s public use of swear words has helped him, his most famous private cursing in the Access Hollywood video got him in trouble. He even issued a rare apology.

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Swearing works because it’s the kind of thing you’re not supposed to say in public. When Trump swears, he’s signaling to his audience that he’s talking the same way he would in private, a classic rhetorical move from a populist who criticizes career politicians. But even for Trump, who’s willing to say quite a lot of things publicly that other people wouldn’t, there are some conversations that aren’t meant to be public.