The anti-Biden phrase originated at a NASCAR race and quickly rose to the mouths of mainstream figures.
Republicans nationwide were in a buoyant mood after GOP businessman Glenn Youngkin scored an upset victory in the Virginia gubernatorial election over the state’s popular former Democratic Governor Terry McAuliffe on Tuesday night.
DeSantis was holding a press conference at the Hilton Palm Beach Airport to push for new election security laws when he invoked the vulgar phrase.
‘If you look at what’s going on with some of the big corporations with their woke agenda, when you look at the Biden – the Brandon administration – in terms of what they’re doing,’ the Florida Republican said.
Cheers and applause broke out before DeSantis finished speaking, prompting him to trail off and laughs as chants of ‘Let’s go Brandon’ filled the room.
It’s supposed to be a stand-in for ‘F**k Joe Biden.’
DeSantis, a potential 2024 presidential candidate, became the latest high profile Republican to invoke the right-wing anti-Joe Biden meme
Instead of toning down the crowd’s cheer, which is more commonly seen at sporting events than small-scale political remarks, DeSantis quietly nodded and allowed the crowd of mostly middle-aged and older adults grow louder with some people clapping and whooping along.
He then ventured to explain the origins of the phrase and defended it by saying Donald Trump endured worse criticism as president.
‘Do you know how that started? Like it was – you have the media and their hand-wringing over this, but you know it was at a NASCAR race. They’re doing the interview with the driver, I guess his name was Brandon,’ DeSantis began as the crowd egged him on.
‘And the crowd starts chanting very colorful language about Joe Biden. And it was obvious what they were doing, and you know it is what it is.’
He added, ‘They said way worse about Trump for four years, we know that,’ to more applause.
The Republican governor then turned the anecdote into an attack against the media, claiming that a reporter who mistook the chant for the now-viral ‘Let’s go Brandon’ phrase was actually lying to protect the president.
‘But so they’re chanting this, and so you have a reporter from NBC, who knows that’s what they’re saying, and she’s trying to cover for Biden so she says “Yeah, they’re chanting let’s go Brandon.” And that was a lie,’ DeSantis claimed.
‘It was a lie, and so this chant, I think, has taken on a life of its own because it exposes the dishonesty of these corporate reporters and what they do everyday to try to lie – and now you see it.’
Republicans across the country were in a buoyant move after GOP businessman Glenn Youngkin scored an upset victory in Virginia’s gubernatorial race against Democrat powerhouse and former state governor Terry McAuliffe
DeSantis is far from the first public figure to use the right-wing meme.
Members of Congress like GOP Reps. Lauren Boebert of Colorado and Marjorie Taylor Greene of Georgia have frequently invoked it in recent weeks.
And DeSantis’ fellow Republican governor, Greg Abbott of Texas, tweeted the phrase late last month when he shared a clip of himself talking about Biden’s ‘dangerous liberal policies’ in an interview with Breitbart.
But DeSantis looks to be one of the most high-profile politicians to echo it, as a likely 2024 presidential candidate.
Trump appears to be cashing in on it too. Last week his campaign announced a special promotion in which anyone who donated at least $45 would receive a ‘Let’s go Brandon’ t-shirt.
The meme worked its way into the mainstream beyond political figures as well. Southwest Airlines is investigating one of its pilots who said ‘Let’s go Brandon’ over his intercom upon landing the plane.
He was apparently seen on a TikTok video telling passengers ‘Let’s go Brandon’ at the end of the flight from Texas to New Mexico.
And a song by rapper Bryson Gray of the same name knocked superstar singer Adele off the top of the iTunes charts.
The controversial song, which contains provocative lyrics such as ‘Joe is a crook’, ‘they buildin’ back better, but only the Taliban’, and ‘pandemic ain’t real, they planned it,’ has been banned on YouTube for spreading ‘harmful false information’ about the coronavirus.
Also at his press conference on Wednesday, DeSantis pushed election reforms including new timeframes during which election supervisors would have to clean their voting rolls and upgrading ballot harvesting from a misdemeanor to a felony.
He also plans to create a separate state office to investigate allegations of election crimes, local station WPEC reported.