Nascar driver Brandon Brown has said that he has no interest in politics and distanced himself from the anti-Biden “Let’s Go Brandon” chant.
The slogan is a euphemism for “F*** Joe Biden” in conservative circles that sprung from a misheard chant at a Nascar race in October. A reporter misheard the crowd chanting “F*** Joe Biden” as “Let’s Go Brandon” after Brown won his first Nascar race at the Talladega Superspeedway in Alabama.
The phrase was subsequently picked up by supporters of former president Donald Trump and became an anti-Biden war cry. The phrase has also been routinely chanted at football games, printed on bumper stickers and hats and is being sold on merchandise in pro-Trump shops.
“I have zero desire to be involved in politics,” Brown told New York Times media columnist Ben Smith. He added that as a Nascar driver, he wanted “to appeal to everybody, because, all in all, everybody is a consumer”.
In his column on Sunday, Smith wrote that the chant could become problematic for Brown as an up and coming athlete. “Politics can be hazardous to your ability to make money,” he wrote.
The phrase has been used by Republicans and appeared in Trump fundraising giveaways, on the mask of congressman Jeff Duncan of South Carolina, and reportedly over the PA system on a Southwest Airlines flight, prompting an investigation. Republicans have also taken to the phrase on several occasions, with Congresswoman Lauren Boebert becoming the latest to sport the phrase on a dress while meeting Mr Trump.
Smith wrote in his column that with the phrase taking on a political life of its own, Brown’s team felt there was a need to address it in the interest of the athlete’s career.
A member of Brown’s team reached out when they realised that “waiting out the storm wasn’t working”, wrote Smith. “His silence on the matter seemed to be a political statement,” the columnist added.
Despite the widespread popularity of the phrase the White House has dismissed the slogan and said that the US president isn’t paying attention to it.
The White House said last month that Mr Biden is not focused on the growing popularity of the chant and instead wanted to work in a bipartisan way. “I don’t think he spends much time focused on it or thinking about it,” White House press secretary Jen Psaki said in early November.
Last month, Nascar dissociated itself from the chant and said that the top motorsports series in the US does not want to be associated with politics.
“I think unfortunately it speaks to the state of where we are as a country. We do not want to associate ourselves with politics, the left or the right,” said Nascar president Steve Phelps. He also promised action against any illegal use of its trademarks on merchandise boasting the slogan.