A man who referenced a profane insult to President Joe Biden during a Christmas phone chat insists it was just “an innocent” joke.
Jared Schmeck, 35, a former police officer in Oregon who works for an electric company, said his “let’s go Brandon” remark during a call into NORAD’s annual Santa tracking center wasn’t meant as “disrespect” but only that he believes Biden “[could] be doing a better job,” the Oregonian reported.
The phrase "let's go Brandon" went viral after an October NASCAR event at which an NBC Sports reporter mistakenly said the crowd was chanting "Let’s go Brandon," in support of NASCAR driver Brandon Brown, when they could be heard on live TV chanting "f--- Joe Biden" in the background, The Hill noted.
“I understand there is a vulgar meaning to ‘let’s go Brandon,’ but I’m not that simple minded, no matter how I feel about him,” Schmeck told the Oregonian.
“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…I love him just like I love any other brother or sister.”
Schmeck said he’s not a “Trumper,” describing what the Oregonian called “vague but threatening phone calls” he’s gotten in the aftermath.
“[N]ow I am being attacked for utilizing my freedom of speech,” Schmeck told the news outlet, describing himself as a “free-thinking American and follower of Jesus Christ.”
According to Schmeck, he and his children call into NORAD every Christmas Eve and he didn’t know it would be livestreamed or documented.
When he called Friday night from his sons’ Christmas-decorated bedroom, he was told First Lady Jill Biden would be taking calls.
“I thought it would be automated. We just waited on hold and then they answered,” he said. “And I thought, ‘wow, this is real.’ "
At the end of the call, Jill Biden wished Schmeck a Merry Christmas, and he responded: "I hope you guys have a wonderful Christmas as well," adding, "Merry Christmas and let’s go Brandon!"
Jill Biden winced, and the president immediately responded, “Let’s Go Brandon, I agree.”
Biden then tried to find out if Jared was calling from Oregon, the news outlet reported.
“By the way are you in Oregon? Where’s your home?” the president asked. With no response, Biden said, “I think we lost him,” and moved on.
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