Follow TV Tropes


Action Politician

Go To

"I'm not one of those Beltway pansies. I could break the President in two with my bare hands!"
Senator Armstrong, Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance

In most stories, politicians generally eschew physically aggressive situations and try to avoid direct involvement in dangerous situations either for the sake of their position or themselves. They generally have their security detail or guards handle the threats while they head off to a safe location or sit things out. Sometimes they act as The Chessmaster and plan, direct, act on and manipulate events behind the scenes while keeping a careful distance. This character is not one of those politicians.

This trope involves the circumstance where a character involved in politics or leading government gets his hands dirty when coming into contact with a threat, be it a clash with protesters or dealing with a threat outside their official residence. When things get dangerous, they’re the first to launch an attack, either physically or using a weapon. This political figure doesn’t need guards or security and prefers to take down their opponents. In other words, this is a politician who is actively involved in physical situations during their political career.

This trope tends to overlap with Badass Bureaucrat, President Action, and Ambadassador. Generally, a case of Asskicking Leads to Leadership comes into play when the politician is a/the leader strictly because of his combative abilities. A case of Blood on the Debate Floor comes into play when the politician in question tends to actively combat other politicians out of disagreements.

Super-Trope to President Superhero.

Compare Royals Who Actually Do Something and Warrior Prince.


    open/close all folders 

    Anime & Manga 
  • Fullmetal Alchemist has military dictator and political leader, King Bradley, who serves as head of state and remains Amestris' most deadly frontline combatant. After returning to his Headquarters following his assassination attempt, he single-handedly plowed through his opponents wielding nothing but a sword and a grenade.
  • Gundam:
    • In Mobile Suit Gundam SEED, we have Cagali Yula Atha. Cagali Yula Atha acts as Orb's Chief Representative (equivalent to a President) and the head of its armed forces, first leading from aboard the Kusanagi, and later climbing in the Strike-Rouge, and sortieing herself.
    • Mobile Suit Gundam has Kycilia Zabi, Princess of Zeon, political conspirator, and military commander. Having been given her position by her father, Kycilia earns a reputation as one of Zeon's most capable commanders, even co-piloting a mobile armour into combat alongside her right-hand man, M'Quve. Towards the end of the show, she launches a coup d'etat against her brother, Gihren, becoming Zeon's final head of state.
    • Mobile Suit Zeta Gundam and Mobile Suit Gundam ZZ.
      • A former child prodigy forced into taking on the position of Regent for Mineva Lao Zabi, Haman Khan is Neo-Zeon's political and military leader, playing the roles of the Evil Chancellor and mobile suit pilot with equal skill. As both a political manipulator and fighter, Haman swiftly earns herself a reputation as one of the most dangerous figures of the Gryps Conflict and the First Neo-Zeon War.
      • Haman Khan's political rival, Glemy Toto, a teenaged mobile suit pilot and wannabe-dictator with a knack for climbing the social ladder through any means. Making his way up through the ranks due to a combination of ability, luck, and family connections, Glemmy eventually stages a coup d'etat against Haman, becoming the leader of his own faction of Neo-Zeon. Despite his newly exalted status, Glemmy doesn't shirk from combat, and dies piloting the monstrous Queen Mantha alongside his right-hand man (or in this case right-hand girl), Ple-2.
    • Mobile Suit Gundam: Char's Counterattack: Char Aznable becomes one when, after years of scheming, he seizes control of the remnants of Haman Khan's Neo-Zeon movement and leads them into a last confrontation with the Earth Federation. Bringing all his skills into play, Char does triple duty as Neo-Zeon's military head, political leader, and best pilot, flying his custom-built Sazabi into a final battle against his archenemy, Federation Ace: Amuro Ray.
    • Mobile Suit Gundam AGE has Lord Fezarl Ezelcant, the political and spiritual leader of the Vagan movement who,despite his advanced age, bad health, and admittedly poor combat skills, makes a sortie in his Legilis Gundam to protect the Second Moon base from Kio Asuno and his allies. Using his considerable mental abilities and the Legilis' advanced specs to compensate for his personal weaknesses, Ezelcant manages to give a good account of himself for an ill old man, surviving the battle and eventually passing on the mantle of Vagan Supreme Leader to his protege, Zeheart Galette.
  • President Funny Valentine from JoJo's Bizarre Adventure: Steel Ball Run has multiple fist, gunfights, and Stand fights.
  • Naruto: The Five Kages are shinobi chosen by daimyos, previous Hokages, and other elite shinobi to handle village affairs and are expected to lead their villages from the frontlines in war. As a result, the Kages tend to be among the most formidable combatants that their respective villages have produced.
  • The Ride-On King: Despite being the leader of two countries, Purchinov tends to resolve everything by himself, be it negotiations or combat.

    Comic Books 
  • Batman: No Man's Land: In Road to No Man's Land, One-Shot Character Senator Esterbrook Havilan, the only politician fighting to allocate money to rebuild Gotham City, qualifies. He personally goes to meet an informant in an arms dealing case, and when it turns out to be a trap, he pulls out a gun. He's quickly disarmed, but knocks one of the assassins unconscious with a single punch. Unfortunately, this is rendered moot when a Horrible Judge of Character moment causes him to walk into a second trap.
  • For a time, Black Lightning served as Secretary of Education.
  • The Don Rosa comics in the Disney Ducks Comic Universe show Theodore Roosevelt still kicking ass even when he's in office. He personally leads the Rough Riders in their charge on Fort Duckburg when he thinks a foreign invader (really, his old friend Scrooge) has taken it over.
  • Green Arrow serves as Star City's mayor as his day job.
  • Many Marvel Earths aside from 616 have Captain America elected Florida Man. Examples include the Marvel Mangaverse, Ultimate Marvel, and the Marvel Zombies universe (where he was actually Colonel America).
  • Night of the Owls: One of the only Court of Owls targets to fight back against their assassins is a city councilman who shoots at his attacker with a pistol.
  • An evil example occurs in Requiem Vampire Knight: a Forever War. The background involves huge armies, one made up of politicians without support and the other made up of those who suffered from their policies and lies, backed up by huge war engines. It's explained neither side will ever win as the politicians have the edge in aggression and lack of morality over the great unwashed masses.
  • Lex Luthor is the U.S. President Evil in many stories, often times clashing with Superman.
  • Wonder Woman (1987): In a rather clear indication that Asskicking Leads to Leadership on Themyscira once the monarchy is abolished the Amazons elected as the new co-rulers are Philippus, generally considered their best and most experienced fighter, and the long time General of the Guard, and Artemis, a former superhero who has dedicated most of her life to fighting and training in fighting styles. When they're at the White House during an assult they jump right into the fight, and are more effective than the security forces on hand.
  • Vampirella: Adam van Helsing is a U.S. Senator by day and monster hunter by night.

    Fan Works 
  • Coreline: Although Realpolitik keeps him away from being on the front lines, there is absolutely no doubt that the Florida Man (who would happen to be Steven G. Rogers) is capable of protecting himself.
  • In the Big Badass Battle Sequence at the end of Peace Forged in Fire, Velal tr'Hrienteh, the incumbent Praetor of the Romulan Star Empire, commands a Scimitar-class warbird alongside the protagonists against a Tal'Shiar fleet. Justified in that Velal originated as a character from late Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, a high-ranking general in the Romulan fleet.
  • After the defeat of the Germanian Empire, Tanya von Degurechaff in A Young Woman's Political Record enters politics with the same cold efficiency she applied to her military career. She manages to wring out impressive gains for her political party in record time and wins the Chancellorship in short order, there applying her future knowledge and economic understanding to rescue the country from the economic mess was in. When the Francois occupy the Rhine Industrial Area, the Argent Silver takes to the skies and descends upon them like the fist of an angry god.

    Films — Animation 
  • Lord Business, the President of the Octan Corporation and the world from The LEGO Movie, puts on his cool hat and his Badass Boots and seizes the Kragle from its guarded underground vault. Later, it is he that decapitates the wizard Vitruvius and shoots a gob of Kragle that pins Emmet Brickowski in place.
  • As a notable villainous example, we have Governor Ratcliffe from Disney's Pocahontas. Ratcliffe leads the British landing party in a sortie against the Native American "savages" holding John Smith prisoner. It is Ratcliffe that fires the first gunshot, aiming for Chief Powhatan.
  • In Resident Evil: Damnation, President of the Eastern Slav Republic, Svetlana Belikova, shows her experience as a combat instructor and casually battles anyone who tries to attack her in hand-to-hand combat. She is so skilled that she mananged to defeat Ada Wong and Leon Kennedy while wearing high heels and a skirt.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • President James Marshall (played by Harrison Ford) in Air Force One. After the titular aircraft gets taken over by terrorists, President Marshall, a combat veteran and Medal of Honor recipient, forgoes a chance to escape in order to personally fight back.
  • In Black Dynamite, President Richard Nixon personally combats the titular character, Black Dynamite, using nunchaku and martial arts skills after his Secret Service flunkies are defeated and his role as the mastermind behind a horrible conspiracy is revealed.
  • In Dante's Peak, Mayor Wando is the Reasonable Authority Figure who listens to the geologist and seeks to help her citizens get to safety when it turns out he's right. She begins as a Love Interest, but when her own kids are endangered, she goes full on Mama Bear in a bid to save her children against nature itself.
  • The President seizes an M-16 from a soldier in Escape from New York, and shoots Duke with it, taunting him with an Ironic Echo of the humiliation the President endured as Duke's hostage.
    President: Who's number one, Duke? Who's A-number one?
  • In Independence Day, President Whitmore pilots an F/A-18 fighter as part of the counterattack against the aliens. By this point the aliens are poised to wipe out the last effective human resistance once and for all, so he figures he can be more useful as a pilot, as he had previously served as a combat pilot before going into politics.
  • Star Wars:
    • We have Supreme Chancellor and later Emperor Palpatine a.k.a. Darth Sidious. While he prefers to avoid confrontation, allowing his various Dragons to do the fighting for him, for entertainment or public image, Palpatine repeatedly proves himself a lethal threat if the need arises. His feats include engaging Mace Windu and Yoda in lightsaber duels and nearly killing Luke Skywalker with Force lightning alone. As the most powerful Sith Lord of his era and an unmatched political mastermind, Palpatine can more than hold his own in any arena.
    • As a heroic example, Padmé Amidala is introduced to us in The Phantom Menace as the elected queen of her planet. She later takes up a position in the Galactic Senate, representing Naboo on the interstellar political scene. She's also a fair shot with a blaster, capable of keeping up with the likes of Obi-Wan Kenobi and Anakin Skywalker and willingly fights alongside them when possible.
    • Admiral Raddus in Rogue One. Before the Imperial occupation of Mon Calamari, Raddus was the mayor of a polar city and lead his people in evacuating the planet on the disguised starcruisers that made up the cityscape. His flagship, the Profundity was among the first Mon Calamari cruisers retrofitted for war and was the city hall.
  • White House Down features President Sawyer as a developmental case. Initially he was quite nebbish and reserved, but repeated exposure to danger to himself gave him the incentive to fight back with great fervor.

  • Seven Days in May: Senator Ray Clark is a veteran of The Korean War and, after being kidnapped by the villains, escapes by convincing his jailer about the danger of the coup, after which the two men escape past the guards.
  • Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter: Honest Abe is President by day and hunter by night. The American Civil War is actually between vampires who want to rule humanity and those who just want to be left alone.
  • Raine Vinyaya in Artemis Fowl: The Arctic Incident. When the city of Haven is besieged by goblins, most of the council members choose to shelter in police plaza. Vinyaya insists on being given a rifle and assists the LEP in the plaza's defense, bringing down several goblins and never missing a shot.
  • Sextus Valerius Corvus in The Arts of Dark and Light. Justified, since he is a general originally, and only becomes a politician when he is drafted for Consul by others without his prior knowledge. Even in office, though, he has good reason to be glad for his military and combat skills.
  • A couple of examples are seen in Discworld:
    • Sam Vimes, Commander of the City Watch and said to be the second most important person in Ankh-Morpork, is at the centre of the action in several novels. He much prefers frontline police work to the political stuff.
    • Lord Vetinari, the most important person in Ankh-Morpork, is a trained assassin and has been known to sneak away from his desk to take a hands-on role in things.
  • In the post-Zombie Apocalypse Newsflesh universe, journalists who actually leave home to do their work are required to meet certain firearms proficiency standards. At one point in the third novel, Blackout, the Vice-President, a former reporter, appropriates a gun from a handy security agent and moves to the front defensive line of the group being evacuated from the White House due to zombie outbreak. He doesn't actually wind up having to shoot anything, but he's quite prepared to do so himself and not hide behind security, even if they'd prefer that he did.
  • Serge A. Storms: Downplayed with Governor Conrad, who has this reputation in Orange Crush, as he served in the National Guard during his tenure as lieutenant governor and saw combat in the Balkans. However, he is more of a bumbling Action Survivor during that engagement, which is shown in flashbacks. He does pull out his gun and stand between a death squad and a civilian family after all of his men are killed or wounded, but his hands are shaking, and he probably would have been gunned down without killing any of his opponents if not for the arrival of The Cavalry.
  • In Terry Brooks' Shannara series, the Ard Rhys (High Druid) of the Druid Order is typically one of these, making deals and negotiating treaties with the rulers of the Four Lands on behalf of the Order, while being one of the most powerful magic users on the continent. Grianne Ohmsford, Khyber Elessedil, and Aphenglow Elessedil have all demonstrated a willingness to do their own fighting, and it's not uncommon for a High Druid to die in battle.
  • Star Wars Legends
    • While Sage Pestage is a Dirty Coward in his old age and role as the Emperor's grand vizier, In Darth Plagueis, as a young senatorial aide to Palpatine, he accompanied Palpatine in fighting off a group of assassins out to kill Palpatine's mentor Hego Damask and killed several of them with a blaster. Despite not having much idea of what was going on, he proves to be a deadly blaster shot.
    • X-Wing Series: Gangster politician Fliry Vorru (who holds various governing or militia positions for both sides between periods as a convict) shoots at least six enemies during the climax of the fourth book.
    • The Star Wars: Kenobi prequel short story "Incognito" follows Dewell Bronk, a Republic senator who is on the run after refusing to support Palpatine's ascension to Emperor. Bronk has a strong desire to protect the weak, and while he is initially too afraid to do so personally, when he sees a pair of stormtroopers (who he knows may have orders to arrest him) beating up an innocent janitor, he intervenes and whacks one of them with his bag.
  • Sten’s boss, The Eternal Emperor, wasn’t always a head of state. He started life in the slums of Oahu, and spent years as roughneck ship engineer. Various characters over the course of the series learn he’s kept up his skills, despite being 30 centuries old.

    Live-Action TV 
  • On The 100, Clarke and Lexa frequently take part front-line combat, despite being their peoples' leaders. We also see Kane personally going on missions during his time as Chancellor, though at that point the Ark is so disorganized, and its manpower so low, there's really no other option.
  • Oscar Hidalgo, the president of the Philippines in Ang Probinsyano (2015), has had his moments of taking up arms himself, particularly when he was in exile with the Task Force Agila and when he reinstated said task force as a formal special forces unit, Oscar himself leading the charge—body armor and all—as he had personal beef with erstwhile first lady Lily and her cohorts.
  • Banshee:
    • Gordon Hopewell, the District Attorney and later Mayor of Banshee, is a former US marine.
    • Alison Medding, the new District Attorney, takes up arms when she is trapped in the besieged CADI, and later blows away a mook with a shotgun.
    • As of Season 4 Kai Proctor can be considered this, as in addition to running his criminal empire he has also become mayor of Banshee after the death of Gordon Hopewell.
  • A somewhat averted case appears as Congressman Bill Cowley from Burn Notice. He is actually a Corrupt Politician and a Jerkass blowhard, but he looks like this trope to the general public thanks to the main characters getting him involved (against his will) with helping them to foil a group of Russian agents attempting to murder a retired CIA agent, and later to expose a group of former US spies gone renegade.
  • In Star Trek, this is practically required for Klingons, especially if someone tries to pull a Klingon Promotion. Chancellor Gowron in particular is gung-ho about meeting challenges to his position.
  • The Strain: City Councilwoman Justine Feraldo, the first public official to recognize the threat posed by the vampires, sends police units to fight them and accompanies them into battle in a Frontline General fashion.

    Professional Wrestling 
  • Jesse Ventura served as mayor of Brooklyn Park (MN) from 1993-1995 and then the state's governor from 1999 to 2003.
  • Kane aka Glenn Jacobs was elected as Knox County (TN) mayor in 2018.
  • Matt Morgan was elected District 4 City Commissioner of Longwood (FL) in 2017 and then its mayor in 2019.

    Tabletop Games 
  • Many of the protagonists in the fiction associated with BattleTech are politicians or nobility as well as in MechWarrior. Doubly so in the Clans, where Asskicking Leads To Leadership.

    Video Games 
  • As a more peaceful example, the mayor from Animal Crossing: New Leaf is an active citizen, doing almost all the chores of their town and is also in charge of the whole land management. This also applies to the player character in Animal Crossing: New Horizons, who serves as the Resident Representative of their island. The mayor is seen in a less peaceful light in Super Smash Bros., where he or she is fighting against characters like Ganondorf, Bowser or Master Hand with an axe and Lloid rockets.
  • In the Newgrounds flash game Bush Shoot-Out, you control President George W. Bush toting an M-16 as he fights off a terrorist siege on the White House after the Secret Service are incapacitated. Condoleeza Rice joins him halfway through the game with a pair of Mac-10s.
  • City of Heroes has a few of these, in the alternate universe of Praetorian Earth we have Emperor Marcus "Tyrant" Cole, who became and stays emperor by merit of being able to punch giant monsters to death.
    • But in the game’s main universe, we have Lord Recluse, the game’s Big Bad who is also the overlord of his own country of supervillains; The funny/awesome part is he’s the one who signed his country up to the U.N. in the first place and he is on record for showing up to summit meets decked out in his supervillain duds, and, occasionally, with literal blood on his hands. According to one of his spies, he actively cultivates his image as dangerous around the other world leaders to asserts dominance over them.
    • To a lesser extent we also have Dr. Aeon, Governor of Cap Au Diable, under Lord Recluse. Aeon is a Mad Scientist, who citizens have seen occasionally open fire from out his office building at protesters who start resorting to violence.
  • In Final Fight, we have Mike "Macho" Haggar. Haggar is the mayor of Metro City who solves the crime problem of his city by beating the piss out of the mobs threatening it. He also happens to be the character portrayed in the trope image.
  • The Player Character of Furył is known only as the Councilor, implying that you were a politician before joining the fight against the Bions. Over the course of the game, you single-handedly defeat the Bions and save humanity.
  • Guilty Gear -STRIVE- introduces Secretary of (Absolute) Defense Goldlewis Dickinson, who is not afraid to head out in the field and personally kick some ass for America. He carries a huge arsenal of classified armaments to help with this, up to and including a containment coffin with an alien that he swings around on a chain.
  • Halo:
    • The Covenant's two main military races, the Sangheili/Elites and Jiralhanae/Brutes, run on Asskicking Leads to Leadership, meaning that even Elite kaidons and Brute Chieftains are often found fighting on the frontlines. Their battlefield presence is justified by them usually being much better fighters than their subordinates, and also by their high status letting them afford high-powered weaponry and heavy-duty energy shields, all of which makes them far more difficult than the average footsoldier to take down.
      • Tartarus, the Chieftain of the Brutes, is no stranger to frontline combat, and has even better gear than your standard Chieftain, despite preferring to go about mostly naked.
      • Many Sangheili Arbiters have been warrior-kings; the current one, Thel 'Vadam, is not just one of the greatest warriors of his era, but also kaidon of the state of Vadam. Even after Thel becomes the effective leader of most of his species, Halo 5: Guardians shows that he's still perfectly willing to lead his warriors from the front.
    • The gravity chairs of high-ranking San'Shyuum/Prophets are effectively military-grade vehicles with heavy shielding and immense firepower. That said, most Prophets still prefer to stay far away from the battlefield, with only a few ever choosing to engage in the fighting themselves, most notably the High Prophet of Regret, who's even willing to take on humanity's greatest Super-Soldier.
  • Shoko Ozora, from Liberation Maiden, is basically Metal Wolf Chaos's Michael Wilson, except a woman and the President of Japan.
  • In Maken X, one of the main bosses is the setting's U.S. President who personally fights using a powerful mechanical body and mechanized weaponry. Though he could have escaped the setting he was placed in, it was revealed he chose to wait for the protagonist to come to him so he could have a chance to fight.
  • From Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance, we have President Evil-to-be: Senator Armstrong. He enthusiastically beats any opponents he desires using his nano-machine-enhanced defenses and increased physical power. He also determines who will join his covert group by having applicants fight him to prove their worth, as Sam discovered.
  • Metal Gear Solid 2: Sons of Liberty: Ex-President Solidus Snake probably qualifies. As a former child soldier and the final boss of the game he was almost certainly a formidable combatant even when he was still in office.
  • President Michael Wilson of Metal Wolf Chaos is a veteran of an unspecified war (the "Arizona Conflict") and fully capable Mini-Mecha pilot. When his treacherous Vice-President attempts a coup, President Wilson jumps into the fray and starts wrecking shop.
    Michael: Jodie, how's my schedule look for today?
    Jodie: You've got a conference and dinner party at the Japanese Embassy regarding wildlife protection.
    Michael: Oh, yeah...sorry, but I'll have to cancel that. I'm heading out to save America!
  • President Roland in Ni no Kuni II: Revenant Kingdom Muggle President of Eagleland is summoned to another world. One whose prince is immediately facing a coup. He immediately shoots a coup soldier about to hurt the prince and grabs the fallen soldier's sword to finish the job on the others. This guy isn't an Everyman.
  • The President in Saints Row IV, also head of a violent multinational street gang, eagerly jumps into combat when Washington DC suffers an Alien Invasion; they've even had anti-aircraft guns installed on the front lawn already. Throughout the game they continue to be referred to as "The President" while continuing to beat up hundreds of aliens.
  • Star Trek Online has Ambassador S'taass. He's the Gorn representative to the Klingon High Council and a senior member of the Klingon Empire's diplomatic corps. He's also a three-meter lizard-man with claws and teeth to match, as demonstrated in "Second Wave" when he starts ripping Jem'Hadar apart bare-handed.
  • From Street Fighter V: Arcade Edition:
  • Tekken 7 gives us Lidia Sobieska, the sitting Prime Minister of Poland and a world-class karateka who enters the King of Iron Fist tournament in response to the tournament host Heihachi Mishima illegally sending his private army into her country.
  • Trails Series: Ever since his first appearance in Trails in the Sky the 3rd all the way to Trails of Cold Steel III, people keep claiming that the Evil Chancellor from the Erebonia empire is dangerous. Cold Steel IV finally shows off just how powerful Giliath Osborne truly is and it's finally revealed just how strong the man is compared to everyone else. He's so powerful, he makes the resident Physical God, Arianrhod, look like a chump by comparison.

    Web Animation 
  • RWBY: Robyn is a Huntress turned politician, campaigning for the open seat on the kingdom's Council. While the other Happy Huntresses provide security during her political events, Robyn is still their leader and a capable fighter in her own right. When her election-night rally is attacked, she responds with weapon drawn and is prepared to join the fight if necessary. And when Mantle is ordered evacuated, she reassures the citizens in a broadcast that she will personally assist in the evacuation process. This is actually a trick to lure Tyrian into the open, using Robyn as the bait. Alongside Clover and Qrow, Robyn defeats and captures the assassin when he comes to kill her.

  • In The Adventures of Dr. McNinja, President Maria Funkhouser leaps at the opportunity to pilot a giant war mecha. Later, an unknown party tries to assassinate her, using pheromones to make everyone within a certain radius (including her own Secret Service retinue) attack her. She successfully defends herself long enough for Dr. McNinja to find a counter-agent for the pheromones.
  • In League of Super Redundant Heroes, after Kurgh the Conqueror takes over Shi-Tropolis, he's stuck with the job of mayor — not that he's doing that bad a job at it...
  • Taken to an extreme with the satellite-punching commander in chief of the animated webcomic Action President.

    Web Original 
  • THE MONUMENT MYTHOS: President James Dean (yes, that one) is a somewhat downplayed version of this, as while he doesn't directly kick anyone's ass he definitely gets directly involved in solving various problems the United States has, especially if the ADA is involved. Shown early on when he flew directly to the states in which the ADA had been cutting the power to silence his campaign and got directly involved in hiring the electricians, but his involvement was most direct during the ADA's coordinated siren hijacking (in which all warning sirens in the nation got heavily boosted and simultaneously set off); he directly commandeered a construction vehicle and knocked down the closest siren he could find, despite being left completely deaf and heavily bruised by the sound.

    Western Animation 
  • Lex Luthor was one during his time when he was running for the U.S. presidency in Justice League as the Question painfully discovered when attempting to assassinate him.
  • Tarrlok from The Legend of Korra, at first glance seems to be your average Desk Jockey, but quickly displays his prowess as a martial organizer (What else do you call a politician who participates in police raids?) and is a competent waterbender who isn’t afraid to use lethal force.
  • President Curtis in Rick and Morty, while a bit of a Butt-Monkey, is more than able to actually hold his own in a direct confrontation with Rick.
  • Chancellor Palpatine in the Star Wars prequel era is also secretly Darth Sidious, a Dark Lord of the Sith. In one scene in Star Wars: The Clone Wars, he fights his former apprentice Maul and Maul's apprentice Savage Oppress.

    Real Life 
  • During The Roman Republic, high political figures would vie for the honor of leading troops in battle. At the disastrous Battle of Cannae, this resulted in the deaths of two consuls, two quaestors, 29 tribunes and 30 senators.
    • Given that he was a general long before he was ever a consul, Gaius Marius is a later example. Having been a veteran in the Cimbric and Jugarthine Wars, he would later on pioneer the Marian Reforms, which would change the way Rome waged war by making it such that the landless masses could be recruited instead of just rich farmers, enacting standardized training and equipment for a standing army, and offering land as a retirement benefit for military service. Keep in mind, that this man is also the uncle of the Julius Caesar.
    • Caesar himself is no slouch, considering he was both a statesman and a general.
  • Some of the Representatives on Mission during The French Revolution fought alongside soldiers in battle before returning to Paris and dealing with politicians again. Some of them were members of the 12 Men Committee of Public Safety that was the executive authority of France during the Reign of Terror. Lazare Carnot, the Organizer of Victory and Louis Antoine de Saint-Just were the most notable. Saint-Just was especially impressive as The Political Officer since he was merely 27 years old.
  • Theodore Roosevelt, to the point where the internet later turned him into a Memetic Badass. During his two terms as United States President, he had visiting dignitaries accompany him on very long runs, supported conservationist policies (including creating a whole slew of national parks) that were meant partly to guarantee that there would always be wildlife for him and people like him to go out and hunt, and promoted a vision of rugged athleticism as national empowerment known as "The Strenuous Life". And that's not even counting his exploits before and after his Presidency.
  • Another Action Politician turned into a Memetic Badass is Vladimir Putin. He was a former KGB secret agent (aka, super-spy), and also once a black belt in judo. Putin swimming or fishing shirtless had become a meme portraying him as Mr. Fanservice.
  • Though generally known as an astounding pushover, Aaron Burr could be this trope when he felt he needed to be; he managed to evade the government for several months before being captured in 1807, at one point escaping from a force of over two-hundred soldiers sent to arrest him. After his show-trial, he then managed to evade and fight off subsequent state-sponsored attempts to re-capture him for several years until they eventually gave up. Before he became a politician, he had had a very successful (albeit brief) military career, serving during The American Revolution with some distinction, to the point where he was universally known as "Colonel Burr" despite having had to leave the army in 1778 due to brain damage.
  • Andrew Jackson was very much Dented Iron by the time of his presidency, but that was a consequence of his affection and talent for violence. He was in particular a famous duelist, and also had a military career distingu ished by bravery and batshit insanity (such as invading Florida while a general - without authorization). Remains the only President who apprehended (more like "beat into submission") his own would-be assassin.
  • Former Brazilian president Dilma Rousseff was a guerrilla fighter in the communist group COLINA (Portuguese acronym for "National Liberation Command") during the Military Government that lasted from 1964 to 1985. She abandoned most communist ideas, but her past was still exploited by both her enemies and her allies.
  • The tradition of U.S. Presidents serving in the military before formally going into politics goes all the way back to George Washington, who served as colonel in the French and Indian Wars and as a general in the American Revolution. To date, out of the 46 people to have held the office, 32 have had military experience.
  • Argentine president Bartolomé Mitre commanded troops on the battlefield during the War of the Triple Alliance.
  • Sharice Davids, a former Mixed Martial Arts fighter turned US Representative from Kansas.
  • Boxer Manny Pacquiao formerly served as a senator in his native Philippines.
  • Mayor of Kyiv and former World Boxing Champion Vitali Klitschko has stated that he will take up arms and help defend the city during the 2022 Russian invasion of Ukraine. President Volodymyr Zelenskiy also stayed as well. When asked if he was going to go back home, he famously stated, "I don't need a ride out of here. I need weapons."


Video Example(s):


Abe Lincoln

Honest Abe is President by day and hunter by night. The American Civil War is actually between vampires who want to rule humanity and those who just want to be left alone.

How well does it match the trope?

5 (8 votes)

Example of:

Main / ActionPolitician

Media sources: