'Let's go, Brandon': what it means and why some in the US keep chanting it

Critics of Joe Biden are using chant to insult Democratic president

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As Joe Biden nears the second half of his term as US President, the seemingly cheery "Let's go, Brandon" chant still follows him around.

But this message is not actually about cheering for someone named Brandon — instead, it has become a code for those in conservative circles for "[Expletive] Joe Biden".

Critics have latched on to the chant, using it — and its more obscene substitute — more and more frequently, such as when Mr Biden visited Chicago last month to promote his vaccine-or-test mandate.

The chant also followed Mr Biden to Virginia last week, popping up when he campaigned for Terry McAuliffe, the Democratic candidate for state governor.

So, how did the meme make it into the mainstream?

How the chant's popularity spread

US leaders being jeered is not uncommon. Former president Donald Trump was the subject of many memes and chants, including "[Expletive] Trump” and “Covfefe".

The “Let's go, Brandon” trend began on October 2, 2001, after Nascar driver Brandon Brown won his first Xfinity Series at the Talladega Superspeedway in Alabama.

While an NBC Sports reporter interviewed the euphoric driver after his victory, the crowd could be heard chanting in the background.

At first, the words to the chant were difficult to make out and the reporter suggested they were saying, “Let's go, Brandon".

But it soon became clear they were chanting "[Expletive] Joe Biden".

The chant's G-rated language has made it easier to go viral. Unlike the crude phrase that it substitutes, “Let's go, Brandon” cannot be banned on social media platforms.

“It's not a search term that they were going to limit,” researcher Hampton Stall told NPR.

“There's a difference between calls for violence and this sort of wink that the 'Let's go, Brandon' meme is.”

Who's using the chant?

A man from Oregon heckled Mr Biden and his wife Dr Jill Biden with the viral motto during a livestream Christmas Eve last year.

Mr Biden, apparently unaware of the meme's meaning, replied to the man: "Let's go, Brandon, I agree".

The chant even followed Ms Biden, who was booed by a raucous crowd during an NFL game in Philadelphia.

“Let's go, Brandon” has not been limited to the fringes of the president's travel schedule. Republican members of Congress have also used it.

Bill Posey, a representative from Florida, ended a speech on the House floor last year in which he excoriated Mr Biden's agenda by saying “Let's go, Brandon”, accompanied by a quick fist pump.

A week later, Jeff Duncan of South Carolina wore a “Let's go, Brandon” face mask.

“Americans are fed up and we're making our voices heard,” Mr Duncan said in a Facebook post in which he shared the photo, adding his frustrations on immigration and vaccine mandates.

Ted Cruz, a senator from Texas, shared a photo of himself with a Houston Astros fan at Game 2 of the 2021 World Series who was holding a “Let's go, Brandon” sign.

Updated: October 17, 2022, 7:21 PM
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