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Opinion: You can't troll the President with 'Let's go, Brandon' and then play the victim

Dean ObeidallahDean Obeidallah
With families watching a live “Santa tracker” event featuring the President and first lady Jill Biden, Schmeck called in and was one of the lucky people chosen to speak to the first family. The call began amicably enough, as Schmeck described what his young children wanted for Christmas and Joe Biden joked that the kids — who, according to an interview with Schmeck, were listening in on the call — had to get to bed by 9 p.m. in order for Santa to come.
After both of the Bidens took turns wishing Schmeck and his family “a wonderful Christmas,” the father of four responded with “Merry Christmas” followed by the coded phrase, “Let’s go Brandon!” For those unaware, “Let’s go Brandon” is a right-wing chant that means, “F**k Joe Biden.”
The origin for this phrase appears to come from a NASCAR race in early October, when a reporter misheard some in the crowd chanting “F**k Joe Biden,” thinking instead they were cheering for race car driver Brandon Brown with the statement, “Let’s go Brandon.”
Since then, various figures on the right — from GOP members of Congress to Donald Trump Jr. — have used the saying “Let’s go Brandon” to tell Biden to … well, you know.
On Friday, Schmeck took it one step further by trolling the Bidens to their face with this coded expression. The father of four is now — as you might imagine — facing a tsunami of criticism for essentially dropping the coded equivalent of an “F”-bomb on a live Christmas Eve special designed for families to track Santa Clause.
For example, Democratic Rep. Eric Swalwell of California tweeted, “I refuse to believe we are this indecent as people. Not on Christmas Eve … We are better than this. Be kind and #MerryChristmas.”
I believe that, as Americans, we have the right to say anything we want to criticize a President — from “Let’s go Brandon” to a blatant “F**k you.” Our right to freedom of speech must be vigilantly protected, especially when speaking about political issues and our elected officials.
Schmeck’s remark on a Christmas Eve special with families watching was despicable, yet he should still have the right to say it if he chooses. (A YouTube video of the call seemingly posted by members of Schmeck’s family claims in the description that he was unaware the call was being livestreamed.)
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That said, there’s plenty else for which to slam Schmeck. First, I find it pathetic that Schmeck and others on the right are being politically correct when it comes to saying what they truly feel about a president. If you want to curse out a sitting POTUS, at least have the courage to do it outright rather than playing politically correct games and hiding behind coded phrases.
When the slogan was first accidentally created, “Let’s go Brandon” seemed to some a funny way to criticize Biden. But that’s long gone, as the right burned out the phrase by overuse — from the Michigan Conservative Coalition naming a fall festival after the phrase to a Republican member of Congress wearing a face mask on the House floor with the phrase on it to a GOP candidate for Congress in Florida spelling out the words in his Christmas light display and on and on.
If the right had a wider pool of professional comedians, perhaps they could come up with fresher ways to be funny in criticizing Biden — but then again, you could fit all the famous conservative comedians in a Toyota Prius and still have room in the backseat for packages.
But even worse than the cowardice of being PC when it comes to political insults is that Schmeck is now doing the cliché conservative move of saying he’s being unfairly criticized because people have slammed his “joke.” Schmeck complained to The Oregonian about threatening calls he received after the livestream, saying, “now I am being attacked for utilizing my freedom of speech.”
Aww, poor “victim” Schmeck. Apparently, he thinks he should be able to tell Biden to basically go f**k himself while on a family friendly holiday call, but no one should be able to take issue with his actions.
Sorry, that’s not how freedom of speech works. If you want to troll a president to apparently make others on the right happy, you can expect criticism. If you don’t want criticism because you are painfully thin-skinned, then don’t say “Let’s go Brandon” on a live Christmas Eve special. It’s as simple as that.
Schmeck told a local Oregon paper that he was not a “Trumper,” and acknowledged that “Let’s go Brandon” does have a “vulgar” meaning but claimed that vulgarity was not his intention. Instead, he said it was “an innocent jest to also express my God-given right to express my frustrations in a joking manner” about Biden’s policies, such as the federal vaccine mandates and rising inflation.
However, any doubts about Schmeck’s partisan intent ended Monday when, as Raw Story reported, he appeared on Steve Bannon’s podcast, where he rebutted the earlier reports he was not a Trump supporter. He also declared, “Donald Trump is my president and he should still be president right now.” Schmeck then added the lie, “The election was 100% stolen. So, I just want to make that clear.”
Schmeck seems to have the right’s victimhood mentality down pat. Still, I don’t have any ill wishes towards Jared Schmeck.
Instead, I just hope he enjoys Biden’s upcoming second year as president. And oh yeah, I hope no one tells him: “Let’s go Jared!”
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