Why are MAGA supporters chanting ‘Let’s Go Brandon’ to mock Democrats?

Phrase has become a family friendly anti-Biden slogan, after a reporter mis-heard a crowd shouting ‘f**k Joe Biden’

Jade Bremner,Gustaf Kilander
Tuesday 02 November 2021 15:30 GMT
Reporter mistakenly thinks NASCAR crowd was shouting ‘Let's Go Brandon’, instead of ‘f**k Joe Biden’

Southwest Airlines has become ensnared in what started as a Republican inside joke after a pilot said the phrase “Let’s go Brandon” over the intercom before a flight.

The anti-Biden war cry “Let’s Go Brandon” is no longer a conservative media phenomenon, it’s infiltrating mainstream popular culture and is now number one and two on iTunes, knocking Adele’s new single into third place.

“Let’s Go Brandon” became a meme after a reporter mistakenly thought a NASCAR race crowd was shouting “Let’s Go Brandon”, instead of “f**k Joe Biden”.

“As you can hear the chants from the crowd, ‘let’s go Brandon’,” said NBC reporter Kelli Stavast, who was interviewing driver Brandon Brown after his race win at Alabama’s Talladega Superspeedway at the beginning of October. In the footage, fans can clearly be heard shouting a vulgar chant about the president.

The Associated Press reported that when the Southwest Airlines pilot said the phrase on Friday, there were “audible gasps from some passengers”.

The spread of the story prompted many to threaten to boycott the airline and Southwest issued an apology on Sunday. “Southwest does not condone employees sharing their personal political opinions while on the job,” the company told The New York Times. The company didn’t share if the pilot had been suspended.

The video of the awkward interview moment between Ms Stavast and Mr Brown not only went viral, the censorship-friendly chant was adopted by Donald Trump fans and the former president himself – he released merchandise on his Save America website including T-shirts with the hashtag “#fgb” on it, under a picture of Joe Biden’s face.

Bryson Gray’s rap song “Let’s Go Brandon” is now top of the iTunes Charts, after being banned on YouTube for its “medical information” and lyric about the pandemic. In the second spot is another “Let’s go Brandon” rap song by Loza Alexander. Adele is in the third spot.

The phrase is also being repeatedly chanted at football games like an anthem. It has been printed on bumper stickers, hats, and is being sold in pro-Trump shops. It’s also been printed on billboards around the country. “Let’s Go Brandon” was even seen on a banner pulled by a plane at Mr Trump’s Iowa State Fairgrounds rally.

Despite the president being widely mocked, the White House claims it has never heard of the phrase, spokesperson Andrew Bates told The Washington Post, “I had never heard of that chant until you explained it to me. I guess I’m not spending enough time on 8chan or whatever.”

The insult to Mr Biden also snubs the “liberal media” – the blip is being used as an example by Trump supporters of how certain outlets bend the truth. “The reporter just lies,” said one user under the viral video. “Oh the liberal media,” posts another under the footage.

Texas Governor Greg Abbott used the phrase on Twitter on 22 October and fellow Republican Bill Posey of Florida used the phrase on the House floor as he blasted the Biden administration.

Professor of digital media at the University of Southern California, with experience in the Clinton administration, Karen North told The New York Times that the phrase “has the fun of being an inside joke or meme and the power of being a rallying cry at the same time”.

But she added that phrase may be soon forgotten. “Because new trends and memes spread so much more quickly, people have something new to jump to more quickly,” she said.

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