WASHINGTON — President Joe Biden was subjected to a right-wing anti-Biden slur during a Christmas Eve call with NORAD's Santa tracker.
Biden and the first lady were speaking with families around the country who had called into the North American Aerospace Defense Command to receive an update on Santa's location when one parent ended the conversation by saying: "Let’s go Brandon."
The president did not appear to recognize that the phrase is used by the right wing as a euphemism for "f--- Joe Biden," and responded: "Let’s go Brandon, I agree."
The slogan took off in conservative circles after NASCAR driver Brandon Brown was interviewed by NBC Sports reporter Kelli Stavast about his victory at the Talladega Superspeedway in Alabama on Oct. 2. The crowd behind the interview began to chant the expletive directed at Biden, but Stavast responded: "You can hear the chants from the crowd, 'Let's Go Brandon!'"
Since then, the euphemism "Let’s go Brandon" has been repeated by a number of prominent figures on the right and Republican members of Congress have even shouted it from the House floor. When the president travels, he is often met by protesters holding "Let's Go Brandon" signs. During a campaign event for Virginia Democratic gubernatorial candidate Terry McAuliffe earlier this fall, protesters interrupted the president's speech with "Let's Go Brandon" chants.
Jill Biden's spokesperson Michael LaRosa called the use of the slur during the Christmas eve call "sick, tasteless, classless, disrespectful, juvenile, & appalling behavior for a parent (toward any commander-in-chief)," in a statement shared to Twitter on Sunday.
"But, no reasonable Democrat is actually shocked," LaRosa added. "Grateful for a @POTUS and @FLOTUS w/dignity and class who set an example for our kids (and parents)."
When asked in early November what Biden made of the popularity of the phrase, White House press secretary Jen Psaki said: "I don’t think he spends much time focused on it or thinking about it."
NORAD has told children it is tracking Santa for over 60 years, providing families with a website to follow Santa as he travels and delivers gifts across the world and opening a call center on Christmas Eve for families to inquire about Santa's location.
Presidents and first ladies often participate in the NORAD Santa tracker calls.
NORAD said that it did not pre-select callers ahead of time, but that it chose from children who had called into the NORAD Tracks Santa hotline.