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Politics

NC Republicans keep saying 'Let's go, Brandon!' It's really a vulgar dig at Joe Biden

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Sarah Newby
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Twitter
NC GOP finance director Sarah Newby, right, and state chair Michael Whatley display a "Let's go, Brandon" sticker in an image Newby tweeted.

At the North Carolina State Fair this week, the state Republican Party sold magnets with an unusual catchphrase: “Let’s go, Brandon!”

“I mean, they were just flying off the table,” said Sarah Newby, the N.C. GOP’s state finance chair. “And it was really cool to me to see how it was like ages from like 13 to like 90-year-old elderly women.”

If you are a conservative who is active on social on media, you may know who Brandon is and what that means.

But everyone else may wonder: Who the heck is Brandon? And why are Republicans so interested in him?

The answer goes to back to early October, at a NASCAR Xfinity race at Talladega Superspeedway in Alabama.

Driver Brandon Brown, whose team is based in Mooresville, had just won his first race.

In a post-race interview with NBC Sports reporter Kelli Stavast, the crowd began saying a vulgar chant that had recently begun circulating at college football games: “(Expletive) Joe Biden.”

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NASCAR
NASCAR driver Brandon Brown was not the subject of a post-race chant.

It was clearly audible on TV. The reporter, however, told her audience they were chanting something else.

During the interview, she said, “You can hear the chants from the crowd — 'Let’s go, Brandon.”

Some conservatives saw the reporter’s misstatement as an example of the news media misrepresenting their views. And so, "Let’s go, Brandon" went viral as an internet meme. Now it’s made its way to Congress.

Last week, Republican U.S. Rep. Bill Posey, of Florida, gave a speech on the House floor criticizing President Biden’s agenda.

“Instead of the bogus build back better plan and reconciliation plan, you know what they want?” Posey said. “They want you to put American back where you found it and leave it the hell alone. Let’s go, Brandon!”

Now the North Carolina Republican Party is selling “Let’s go, Brandon” magnets for $5 a pop. Newby said the party probably sold 1,000 at the state fair, easily its top seller.

Although some older Republicans have trouble getting it. She says a grandmother at the fair asked her what the phrase meant.

“I told her the story and she was still a little confused and I was like, 'It’s like how in the South we say ‘Bless your heart’ to someone,'” Newby said. “'Let’s go, Brandon' is a comparison to that.”

Displays of hatred toward presidents isn't new. President Barack Obama was caricatured as the Batman villain the Joker or as a Muslim not born in the U.S. President Donald Trump was called an agent of Russia and mocked when a "baby Trump" blimp was flown during anti-trump protests in London.

Early in his term, Biden did not elicit the same anger from the opposition party as both Obama and Trump did.

But with the president’s poll numbers declining, Republicans have seized upon that chant. It may be a sanitized slogan, but it comes from the same dark place.

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