‘Let’s go Brandon’ Santa Tracker caller insists he meant no disrespect to Biden
Jared Schmeck, 35, tells Oregonian he has ‘nothing against’ president to whom he repeated ‘Fuck Joe Biden’ rightwing meme
“At the end of the day I have nothing against Mr Biden,” Jared Schmeck, 35, told the Oregonian newspaper. “But I am frustrated because I think he can be doing a better job. I mean no disrespect to him.”
Schmeck, from Central Point, also said he was not a “Trumper” but rather a “free-thinking American and follower of Jesus Christ”.
On Christmas Eve, the president and his wife, Dr Jill Biden, took calls to the North American Aerospace Defense Command Santa Tracker, which each year purports to follow the progress of Santa and his reindeer.
A traditional duty for American presidents, in 2018 it was nearly upended when Donald Trump told a seven-year-old belief in Santa Claus was “marginal” at that age.
Biden and Schmeck discussed presents Schmeck’s four children were hoping to receive, and how one, Hunter, shared a name with the president’s son and grandson. Schmeck said he was hoping for a “quiet night”.
Biden sad: “Lots of luck, dad.”
All on the call laughed.
At the end of the call, Schmeck said: “Merry Christmas and Let’s go Brandon.”
“Let’s go Brandon, I agree,” Biden said, as his wife winced.
Biden also said: “By the way are you in Oregon? Where’s your home?”
But the call was disconnected.
“Let’s go Brandon” originated in an interview with a racing car driver by a TV reporter who may have misheard a crowd’s obscene chant.
It has flourished in rightwing and pro-Trump circles – even being promoted by Republican congressmen and the Texas senator Ted Cruz.
Schmeck and his wife promoted the remark on social media. But they met with a tide of opprobrium, including a tweet in which the California congressman Eric Swalwell pointed to Biden’s painful personal history.
“I refuse to believe we are this indecent as people,” the Democrat wrote. “Not on Christmas Eve. And not to a person who lost his wife and daughter at Christmastime. We are better than this. Be kind and Merry Christmas.”
Schmeck, a former police officer, told the Oregonian he was “being attacked for utilising my freedom of speech”.
He also said he had received some potentially threatening phone calls of his own.
“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.
“[Biden] 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.”
Schmeck said subjects stoking those frustrations with Biden included vaccine mandates and supply chain problems.
He also insisted: “I love him just like I love any other brother or sister.”