Uncommitted Voter Ken Bone of 2016 Election Fame Says Trump Supporters Have Been Nice While Biden Supporters Have Been 'Sh*****g' on Him

Ken Bone, the Red Sweater Guy who went viral in 2016 after posing a question about energy policy during a presidential debate, said supporters of Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden have been "sh*****g all over me" after a recent interview with Newsweek.

Bone was one of the undecided or uncommitted voters in the St. Louis area that Gallup researchers selected to ask then–presidential candidates Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump a question during that election cycle's town hall–style debate on October 9, 2016. Video of Bone's question quickly went viral and he became an overnight celebrity before controversial comments discovered in his Reddit history triggered a backlash to his sudden fame.

During an interview last week, Bone told Newsweek that he was once again uncommitted—a term he said more accurately describes his positioning than "undecided"—heading into the 2020 presidential election. By Wednesday morning, Bone appeared to have made up his mind about which candidate to support, with neither Biden nor President Donald Trump receiving his vote.

"I voted Clinton in '16 and this morning I sealed my mail in ballot having voted for Jo Jorgensen," Bone announced on Twitter, referring to the Libertarian Party's presidential candidate. "I don't agree with either of them 100% but felt they were the best options available to me at the time."

Ken Bone
Ken Bone asks a question during the town hall debate at Washington University on October 9, 2016 in St Louis. Following a recent interview with Newsweek, Bone said on Twitter that supporters of President Donald Trump have been kind to him while supporters of Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden have not. Chip Somodevilla/Getty

In addition to declaring his decision on which candidate to support, Bone said Trump supporters were being kind to him while Biden supporters were not on Wednesday morning, shortly after the interview was published.

"All morning the Trump supporters have been nice to me even though I don't like Trump," Bone said on Twitter. "The Biden camp has been sh*****g all over me because I don't like Biden."

Bone previously told Newsweek that he did not have a positive opinion of either Trump or Biden heading into the first presidential debate, an event that he said reinforced those feelings. He also spoke frankly about his views on Trump, whom he said is a "master" at "manipulating people via the media" and whose first term in office he described as "hit and miss with a lot more misses than hits."

Despite those descriptions, Trump supporters were treating him kindly, according to Bone's comments on social media. Other Twitter users criticized Bone for saying he decided to support a third-party candidate instead of choosing between Biden and Trump.

"Do these people really not see how much this behavior pushes bystanders toward the right?" he said.

In an email to Newsweek, Bone said the reactions he received online following his interview "honestly make me pretty sad."

"When I said I don't support either Biden or Trump I got a mostly positive reaction from Trump supporters saying things like 'wish you'd change your mind, MAGA lol' and other relatively light stuff," he said. "I got hundreds upon hundred[s] of vitriolic hate responses from Biden supporters. Apparently I don't hate Trump enough, and therefore I am a racist, white privileged, indecisive moron."

Reflecting on the difference between the supporters' reactions, Bone said, "A neutral party watching this would be bound to get pushed toward the Trump crowd."
Bone acknowledged his Wednesday tweet declaring that he cast his ballot for Jorgensen and said he made the decision because he believed his policy leanings aligned with hers closer than those of Biden or Trump. He added, "I felt that putting in a third party vote could help send a message of dissatisfaction with the 2 party system."

Bone earlier told Newsweek that he planned to watch the vice presidential debate on Wednesday night, as well as any additional debates that take place between Biden and Trump. He said watching the debates was "like watching your own house burn down" but said he felt a responsibility to stay engaged due to the celebrity he briefly experienced in 2016 and the social media followers he still has from that experience.

"If people are going to listen to me, I feel like I owe it to them to at least be a little bit informed," he said at the time, adding that he would remind his followers that his takes on the debates reflect his personal opinions.

Updated 10/08 at 5:41 p.m. ET: This article has been updated to include additional comments from Ken Bone.