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How ‘Let’s Go, Brandon’ became the right’s favorite Joe Biden insult

Updated Nov 28th, 2022 10:31PM EST
President Joe Biden waving to hecklers shouting Let's go Brandon!
Image: Oliver Contreras - Pool via CNP/MEGA

Spend enough time scrolling through Twitter, and you’ll eventually come across it. A simple, three-word exhortation — “Let’s go, Brandon!” — that started spreading like wildfire across social media in October of 2021.

The phrase quickly became a combination anti-Joe Biden meme and a conservative rallying cry of sorts. It’s also driven Biden supporters completely crazy. You’ll generally find the phrase shared in posts written by President Biden’s detractors, but it’s also become a hashtag, a meme, included in account names and handles — and it even adorns merchandise.

Even famous people have adopted the “Let’s go, Brandon!” mantra. Republican Congressman from South Carolina, Rep. Jeff Duncan, wore a mask on the House floor with the statement inscribed on it. On TikTok, a “Let’s go, Brandon” song also gained popularity.

We’ll break down the backstory below.

What does “Let’s Go, Brandon!” mean?

Brandon Brown is the professional NASCAR driver whose name is at the center of it all.

He first joined the Xfinity Series in 2016, starting as a part-time racecar driver, and shifted to a full-time position in the 2019-2020 season. Brown won his first Xfinity Series race on October 2, 2021, at the famous Talladega Superspeedway.

This video below from an interview after one of his NASCAR wins is where the whole thing got started.

It was a race in October 2021 at the Talladega Superspeedway in Alabama, and Brown had just won a NASCAR race. At one point during an interview with Brown afterward, Sportscaster Kelli Stavast commented on how the crowd seemed to be chanting in his honor: “Let’s go, Brandon!”

Unfortunately, that’s not actually what they were chanting. The crowd was very clearly addressing President Joe Biden, not Brandon — only, with an f-bomb in front of his name instead of “Let’s go!”

Whether the reporter in that clip made a mistake or not, though, is kind of irrelevant. Conservatives already feel like the mainstream media is stacked against them. And here, a reporter is telling people something that contradicts what they could clearly hear with their own ears.

Biden approval rating

One reason “Let’s Go, Brandon!” is more than just a straightforward catchphrase, as we’ve alluded to above, has to do the political realities in the US.

The phrase was all over social media again a few months ago, for example, with the news that Southwest Airlines was canceling tons of flights (leading to suspicion that Biden’s vaccine mandate was somehow to blame). Even congressmen and the NRA, certainly no fans of the president, have gotten in on the act and promoted the phrase on social media.

One of the crises that was unfolding at the time of that NASCAR race, when the phrase first caught fire, was a supply chain meltdown. Inflation started soaring, and the US began reeling from shortages of important consumer products, like baby formula. President Biden and his administration tried to downplay much of it — which, to conservatives, reeked of the same “Who are you going to believe? Me, or your lying eyes?” defense that characterized the original “Let’s go, Brandon!” TV moment.

Biden, meanwhile, also closed out his first year in office by finding himself almost as unpopular as former President Trump. Along those lines, The Economist ran a piece with the headline: “No one loves Joe Biden.”

“Americans elected the president to get rid of his predecessor,” the piece continued. “They’re not sure what else he can do.”

Let’s, Go Brandon! songs – and reaction from Trump

The phrase, meanwhile, has continued to show up in all kinds of surprising places.

On November 1, NBC News reported that Palmetto State Armory, a firearms company, had begun marketing ammunition stamped with the “Let’s Go, Brandon” slogan. There have also been chart-topping hip-hop songs with, as noted above, “Let’s Go, Brandon” in the title. One of the songs, by rapper Loza Alexander, first went viral on TikTok.

Another is from rapper Bryson Gray, whose song shot to #1 on iTunes.

President Trump, meanwhile, was bound to weigh in on all this eventually and add his reaction to the meme-ification of his successor. At an event at his Mar-a-Lago resort in Florida at the end of 2021, he couldn’t help himself while giving remarks to an audience:

“I still haven’t figured out, was that young, attractive female reporter — was she trying to cover (it) up? Or was she being nice? Did she not understand what was happening? She works for NBC. So it’s about 94% sure that she knew exactly what she was doing.”

let's go brandon joe biden memeImage source: Yuri Gripas / Pool via CNP Newscom/Mega Agency

Andy Meek Trending News Editor

Andy Meek is a reporter based in Memphis who has covered media, entertainment, and culture for over 20 years. His work has appeared in outlets including The Guardian, Forbes, and The Financial Times, and he’s written for BGR since 2015. Andy's coverage includes technology and entertainment, and he has a particular interest in all things streaming.

Over the years, he’s interviewed legendary figures in entertainment and tech that range from Stan Lee to John McAfee, Peter Thiel, and Reed Hastings.