An Oregon man who repeated an offensive catchphrase while on a Christmas Eve call with President Joe Biden says he was just joking around.
"I have nothing against Mr. Biden, but I am frustrated because I think he can be doing a better job," former police officer Jared Schmeck told The Oregonian. "I mean no disrespect to him."
The phone call started cordially enough. The 35-year-old Schmeck had called the NORAD Santa tracker like he does every Christmas Eve. Normally, the call is automated. This year, the president and First Lady Jill Biden were taking calls together.
For a couple of minutes, things were pleasant. "I assume you're a dad," said the president. "What do you want for Christmas?"
Schmeck laughed. "Maybe a quiet night."
"Lots of luck, dad!" Biden responded.
The president asked Schmeck what his children wanted for Christmas. The first lady waxed nostalgic about the Barbie she used to have when she was a child. The first couple then began wrapping up the amiable call.
To make sure Santa shows up, "you guys have to be in bed by nine o'clock!" the president said, adding: "I hope you have a wonderful Christmas"
That's when Schmeck, speaking to the leader of the free world, parroted a catch phrase that's been adopted in conservative circles, and which, when translated, means "[expletive] Joe Biden."
"Yeah, I hope you guys have a wonderful Christmas as well," Schmeck said. "Merry Christmas and let's go Brandon."
Biden took the remark in stride. "Let's go Brandon, I agree," he said. "Hey, by the way, are you in Oregon? Where's your home?"
Schmeck didn't answer — he said later that he had been disconnected.
Schmeck posted a video of his side of the phone call on YouTube, with the hashtag #letsgobrandon.
Facing pushback on social media, Schmeck told The Oregonian it was a "joke," and that he was merely venting frustration over Biden's policies, supply chain problems, and vaccine mandates. "And now I am being attacked for utilizing my freedom of speech," he said.
"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," Schmeck said. "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."