After years of saying Democrats were uncivil, Republican lawmakers race to embrace ‘f--- Joe Biden’ memes

Some GOP elected officials are even selling ‘Let’s Go Brandon’ merchandise
U.S. Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-Fla.) speaking with attendees at the 2019 Teen Student Action Summit hosted by Turning Point USA in Washington, D.C. July 22, 2019 Photo: Gage Skidmore/Flickr

First published by the American Independent Foundation

Rep. Bill Posey (R-FL) used the phrase “Let’s go Brandon,” a right-wing meme that stands for “Fuck Joe Biden,” on the floor of the House of Representatives on Friday.

“People are understandably frustrated. Actually, they are very angry, and they are not going to sit back and take it much longer,” Posey said in a speech. “Instead of the bogus Build Back Better plan and reconciliation plan, you know what they want? They want the Democrats to help put America back where they found it and leave it the hell alone. Let’s go, Brandon.”

Using a phrase that means “fuck Joe Biden” on the House floor or elsewhere appears to be a breach of the House Ethics Committee’s Code of Official Conduct, which states, “A Member, Delegate, Resident Commissioner, officer, or employee of the House shall behave at all times in a manner that shall reflect creditably on the House.”

Yet Posey is just the latest GOP lawmaker to use the meme, which started in October during a NASCAR race, when fans were chanting, “Fuck Joe Biden” as an NBC Sports reporter was interviewing driver Brandon Brown. Rather than acknowledge the profane chant, the reporter suggested the crowd was chanting “Let’s go, Brandon,” and thus the meme was born.

For weeks, Republican lawmakers have used the phrase in tweets and at events to fire up their base.

Posey’s fellow Florida GOP Rep. Byron Donalds got the crowd at a GOP event in his home state to chant the phrase on Oct. 11.

“I’m thrilled to be speaking at the Boca Raton Regional Republican Club, the energy in South Florida is incredible, and they have a message for @JoeBiden, LET’S GO BRANDON!” Donalds tweeted, along with the video of himself organizing the chant. 

Reps. Lauren Boebert (R-CO), Jim Banks (R-IN), Matt Gaetz (R-FL), Mary Miller (R-IL), and Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-GA) have tweeted the phrase.

Texas GOP Rep. Beth Van Duyne tweeted it on Oct. 13, as did Texas Rep. Chip Roy, who used the hashtag “#LetsGoBrandon” to praise a Washington state police officer who quit his job rather than comply with the state’s COVID-19 vaccine mandate.

Some GOP lawmakers and officials are even selling campaign merchandise with the phrase.

Rep. Michelle Fischbach of Minnesota is selling “Let’s Go Brandon” hats, beer koozies, and t-shirts.

Former President Donald Trump is also selling campaign merchandise with the phrase.

“We just launched our BRAND NEW LET’S GO BRANDON shirt and President Trump wants YOU to have one,” reads a fundraising appeal, offering the shirts to donors who give $45 or more on the website WinRed.

House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy’s office did not respond to a request for comment on whether it’s appropriate for members of his caucus to be using profane language against the president on the House floor or on social media.

However, in 2019, McCarthy chastised a Democratic House member who used profanity against Trump.

“You know what happened in the last Congress, when Republicans were in the majority? You know what our freshman class did? They put a resolution together to actually work with one another, to not use foul language,” McCarthy said in 2019, after Rep. Rashida Tlaib said of Trump that Congress was going to “impeach the motherfucker.” “And they got almost every single freshmen to sign on to it,” he claimed. “This is the difference with this Congress, and it’s wrong.”