An Oregon man who finished a livestreamed Christmas Eve call with President Joe Biden by using the coded insult “let’s go Brandon” says he did not mean to “disrespect” the president.
Jared Schmeck, 35, told The Oregonian the quip — a conservative rallying cry that means “(expletive) Joe Biden” — came out of frustration for how the president is running the country.
“At the end of the day, I have nothing against Mr. Biden, but I am frustrated because I think he can be doing a better job,” Schmeck told The Oregonian. “I mean no disrespect to him.”
The origin of the phrase traces back to October, when fans at a NASCAR race in Alabama chanted “(expletive) Joe Biden,” but a TV reporter said they were yelling “let’s go Brandon” for the winning driver.
Since then, the phrase has gone viral, with Biden’s opponents splashing it across social media, flying it on flags and plastering it on bumper stickers.
Schmeck said he didn’t expect the call to be livestreamed and that he was told first lady Jill Biden would be taking calls on the NORAD Santa tracker hotline.
The Bidens greeted Schmeck and his family on the call, pointing out that their son and grandson shared the name Hunter with Schmeck’s son. They asked his children what they wanted for Christmas.
“Holy mackerel,” Biden said when one of the children said they had asked for a piano. Jill Biden said she still had her Barbie from when she was a kid.
As the call wrapped up, Biden joked that the kids had to be in bed by 9 p.m. for Santa to show up, before wishing Schmeck’s family “Merry Christmas.”
“I hope you have a wonderful Christmas as well,” Schmeck said on the call. “Merry Christmas, and let’s go Brandon.”
Biden responded: “Let’s go Brandon, I agree,” before asking where Schmeck and his family lived, but the call already was cut off.
Schmeck posted his side of the call on YouTube and told The Oregonian he received threatening calls after the moment went viral but that he stood behind his “joke.”
“I understand there is a vulgar meaning to ‘Lets go Brandon,’ but I’m not that simple-minded, no matter how I feel about him,” he told the newspaper. “He seems likes he’s a cordial guy. There’s no animosity or anything like that. It was merely just an innocent jest to also express my God-given right to express my frustrations in a joking manner…I love him just like I love any other brother or sister.”
‘Let’s go, Brandon’ Biden dig all over the U.S., here’s how it started
“Let’s go, Brandon” has spread across the country as a coded insult toward President Joe Biden. Here’s how it all started and where it’s going.
Staff video, USA TODAY