In less than six weeks, a derisively tongue-in-cheek chant has taken over the United States, from sports stadiums to the halls of Congress — “Let’s go Brandon!”
The dig at President Joe Biden started during a television interview with NASCAR driver Brandon Brown. After winning a race in Alabama on October 2, the 28-year-old was speaking to an NBC reporter when the crowd began to chant.
Raising her voice in order to be heard, the reporter said: “As you can hear the chants from the crowd: Let’s go Brandon!”
In fact, the crowd could clearly be heard chanting, “Fuck Joe Biden!”
The speed at which the coded vulgar insult has spread through an ultra-polarized country reflects both the deterioration of political debate in a post-Donald Trump world, as well as Biden’s own plummeting popularity.
The journalist’s gaffe, combined with Brown’s joy, was enough to make the clip go viral. And the slogan “Let’s go Brandon” became an easy way to deride Biden, but without using a swear word.
In recent weeks, even prominent Republican politicians have used the phrase, drawing condemnation from Democrats.
Among them is conservative and pro-Trump Florida Governor Ron DeSantis, whom many see as a White House contender in 2024.
During a speech in West Palm Beach, where Trump lives in his Mar-A-Lago club, DeSantis mocked the “Brandon administration.”
He is one of many conservative leaders who have helped bring the cruel slogan out of far-right circles by making it seem acceptable.
South Carolina Representative Jeff Duncan caused a stir by wearing a “Let’s Go Brandon”-printed mask in the House of Representatives. Texas Governor Greg Abbott tweeted the slogan, and Texas Senator Ted Cruz posed with a “Let’s Go Brandon” sign.
T-shirts branded with the slogan, including on an American flag background, have become popular among pro-Trump voters.
After landing a flight from Houston to Albuquerque, a Southwest Airlines pilot said the phrase over the plane intercom. The airline has launched an internal investigation into the “unacceptable” conduct.
NASCAR president Steve Phelps also warned Friday that his organization would not tolerate its logo being associated with the insulting slogan, which has been repeated in sports stadiums across the United States, particularly NASCAR circuits.
But popular US television show “Saturday Night Live,” which is known for its political satire, took aim at the slogan over the weekend.
And some of Biden’s fans are attempting to reclaim the nasty nickname, using the hashtag #ThankYouBrandon.