GOP Lawmaker Wears 'Let's Go Brandon' Mask on House Floor in Barely Veiled Swipe at President Biden

It's the latest instance of a Republican lawmaker using the increasingly popular right-wing phrase

jeff duncan
Jeff Duncan. Photo: Facebook

South Carolina Republican Jeff Duncan is making headlines for a face mask worn this week on the floor of the House of Representatives — and emblazoned with "let's go Brandon," a seemingly benign phrase that serves as coded reference to profane criticism of President Joe Biden.

The backstory is a bit convoluted, but the phrase is basically a stand-in for "f--- Joe Biden," a chant that has become increasingly popular among conservatives who see the president as political vulnerable in the wake of the end of the Afghanistan war and as he continues trying to pass his domestic agenda through Congress.

A spokesperson for Rep. Duncan, who has been in office since 2011, said in a statement sent to PEOPLE that the Congressman wore the mask as a representation at American's anger at, among other things, inflation, problems at the border, and vaccine mandates.

"The whole 'Let's Go Brandon' trend acknowledges the mainstream media's constant shilling for an Administration that is responsible for all of these things — and only in 10 months. Americans are fed up, and we're making our voices heard," the statement read, in part.

Duncan's selection of the mask comes just days after fellow Republican Rep. Bill Posey ended a speech on the House floor by saying, "Let's go, Brandon!"

The phrase, as detailed by Slate, is rooted in a remark made by an NBC Sports reporter while interviewing NASCAR driver Brandon Brown following his win at the Talladega Superspeedway

While the crowd could be heard chanting "f--- Joe Biden," the reporter suggested instead that they might be cheering "let's go, Brandon" in the driver's honor.

The phrase inspired a viral TikTok rap song and has made its way onto merchandise — including, of course, face masks — and has been parroted by conservative crowds at sporting events and by other Republicans, including Sen. Ted Cruz (himself no stranger to being meme'd).

President Joe Biden receives a third shot of the Pfizer Covid-19 vaccine
President Joe Biden. Ken Cedeno/POOL/EPA-EFE/Shutterstock

In North Carolina, the state's Republican party is selling magnets and bumper stickers containing the phrase, with one staffer estimating to a local radio station that they sold at least 1,000 of the $5 magnets at the state fair recently.

The phrase's popularity with the GOP reflects political reality:

Recent approval ratings by Gallup show that the 78-year-old Biden's rating is almost historically low in comparison to his predecessors — with the exception of one. While numbers released Monday estimated his approval at just 42 percent, Donald Trump's was at 37 percent at this stage in his own presidency.

The Biden White House, however, has maintained that his focus on domestic issues and on a successful COVID-19 strategy will pay off with voters.

"If you notice, the Republicans haven't passed a single, solitary thing. Zero. Their agenda right now is just 'stop Biden,' " the president said at a recent CNN town hall. "Although, I shouldn't make it so personal. 'Stop my administration' — that's what the agenda is. It's much easier to stop something than to start something."

"And I went before the joint session of Congress, and I laid out exactly what I was for. And so I made it clear what I was for. Initially what happened was, I got no support for anything from our Republican friends. And then they said, 'Maybe we can work out a bipartisan deal on infrastructure.' And we did," Biden continued.

"Now, what's coming along is this reconciliation — they call it a fancy word — for the other pieces that have the childcare pieces, have the economy that relates to allowing people to, women to, go back to work," he said at the town hall. "It has about $450 billion for environmental remediation, and so on."

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