The Oregon father of four who quickly rose to infamy by blurting out “Let’s Go Brandon” during a Christmas Eve call with President Joe Biden is—of course—now fully leaning into his newfound right-wing celebrity status.
Jared Schmeck on Monday donned a red MAGA hat and embraced election denialism during an appearance on former Trump strategist Steve Bannon’s insurrectionist podcast.
While taking calls from the NORAD “Santa tracker,” the president and First Lady Jill Biden were connected with Schmeck, a 35-year-old ex-cop now working for an electric company. After a fairly pleasant chat featuring the Bidens asking what his children wanted for Christmas, Schmeck ended the call by giddily exclaiming “Let’s Go Brandon,” a popular right-wing euphemism for “Fuck Joe Biden.”
Once the moment went viral on social media and sparked outrage, however, Schmeck claimed to a local Oregon newspaper that he meant “no disrespect” and that it was merely a “joke.” At the same time, he said he was “being attacked for utilizing my freedom of speech” and had received some vaguely threatening phone calls.
“I understand there is a vulgar meaning to ‘Let’s go, Brandon,’ but I’m not that simple-minded, no matter how I feel about him,” Schmeck told The Oregonian on Christmas Day. “He seems likes he’s a cordial guy. There’s no animosity or anything like that. It was merely just an innocent jest to also express my God-given right to express my frustrations in a joking manner… I love him just like I love any other brother or sister.”
Two days after saying lylab to Biden and that there was “no animosity” towards him, Schmeck popped up on War Room Pandemic, the far-right podcast hosted by Bannon, the one-time Breitbart chief recently hit with contempt charges for ignoring a subpoena from the House committee probing the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol. As someone who has vowed to take down “the Biden regime,” Bannon is one of the most prominent peddlers of 2020 election lies.
Wearing a red “Make America Great Again” baseball cap, Schmeck first said he and his family “had a really good laugh” over his use of the phrase. However, while asserting he said it “in a joking manner,” Schmeck added that it was his chance to “voice my disapproval of this man and his administration.”
Reiterating what he’s told other media outlets—that he’s a “Christian man” and he loves “God first and foremost”—Schmeck also claimed that he doesn’t “follow any one man blindly.”
At the same time, the Oregon dad took issue with any reports claiming he is not a Donald Trump supporter, though he said he’s not a “Trumper” during his Oregonian interview. “That's absolutely false,” Schmeck told Bannon. “Donald Trump is my president, and he should still be president right now.”
Expressing his loyalty to the twice-impeached ex-president, the ex-cop then parroted Trump’s baseless and false claims about last year’s presidential election.
“The election was 100 percent stolen,” he declared. “So, I just want to make that clear.”
Schmeck then proclaimed that the use of the not-so-inside joke was a way to air a number of common right-wing grievances in one fell swoop.
“‘Let’s Go Brandon’ is more than just ‘F Joe Biden.’ ‘Let’s Go Brandon’ encompasses the entirety of our frustration with Joe Biden, the administration, the leftist mob, the cancel culture, the mainstream media,” he insisted. “They’re the ones who made this a thing.”