‘Let’s Go Brandon’ merchandise at Alaska exchange crossed AAFES’ line on vulgarity
The Army and Air Force Exchange Service is emphasizing a ban on the sale of lewd or profane products in its stores after a vendor in Alaska sold figurines carrying a crude catch phrase aimed at the commander in chief.
In the days leading up to Christmas, a temporary vendor at the exchange on Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson in Anchorage sold wooden bear figurines fashioned to resemble former President Donald Trump and holding signs reading, “Let’s Go Brandon,” according to the Anchorage Daily News, which first reported the sales.
The foot-tall bears sported long red ties and slicked-back blond hair in Trump fashion, the newspaper said.
“Let’s Go Brandon” serves as code for some who oppose Joe Biden’s presidency. Pro-Trump crowds routinely chant the phrase during rallies, and it now adorns T-shirts, hats, coffee mugs and a host of other merchandise popular with conservatives.
The cipher emerged Oct. 2 as code for “F--- Joe Biden” during a NASCAR race at Talladega Superspeedway in Alabama. Race-winner Brandon Brown was being interviewed by an NBC Sports reporter, and the microphone picked up a nearby crowd chanting the crude anti-Biden phrase.
Video of the reporter suggesting that the crowd was chanting “Let’s Go Brandon” went viral.
Biden is undoubtedly familiar with the phrase after a member of a military family tossed it at the president during a traditional White House holiday phone call on Christmas Eve.
A father from one military family hung up on Biden after telling him, “Let’s go Brandon,” Bloomberg reported.
The independent vendor’s short-term stint at the Alaska base had already ended by the time the agency learned of the prohibited merchandise, AAFES spokesman Chris Ward told Stars and Stripes by phone on Monday.
“The exchange routinely reviews products to determine their compliance with the Exchange’s prohibition from selling items that are illegal, promote the use of drugs or alcohol, contain racial or ethnic slurs, promote racial or ethnic supremacy, or include words, symbols, or scenes that are lewd, profane or vulgar,” he said. “If the product is determined to be in violation of restrictions, the exchange takes immediate corrective action.”
The exchange reviewed the product after the vendor had left, and it was “determined to be outside their established parameters for resale,” Ward said.
Moving forward, the exchange will place greater emphasis on communicating the existing policy with vendors “so that they’re aware with what is acceptable for retail in military installations,” Ward said.