A pilot on a Southwest Airlines flight from Houston to Albuquerque delivered a three-word sentence that set off some of his passengers. During the pilot’s greeting to the passengers, he finished up with “Let’s Go Brandon”, a popular hashtag on social media. Since it is mostly conservatives who use the phrase, the story rapidly circulated on social media Friday.
On the flight was a reporter with the Associated Press who was, as it happened, working on a story titled “How ‘Let’s Go Brandon’ became code for insulting Joe Biden.” She tweeted out the pilot’s words and reported hearing “gasps” from some passengers. Her tweet quickly brought out the perpetually outraged, this time on the left side of the aisle, resulting in calls for an apology and even for his termination.
TFW you’re trying to go on vacation and then the pilot says the very thing you’re working on over the loud speaker and you have to try to get him comment but then almost get removed from plane. https://t.co/xZI5FtLzJB
— Colleen Long (@ctlong1) October 30, 2021
The words became a hashtag after an incident where an NBC reporter was caught deliberately misconstruing an anti-Biden chant coming from a NASCAR crowd in October.
When NASCAR driver Brandon Brown won his first ever NASCAR Xfinity Series on October 2, fans began chanting “F— Joe Biden” during his post-race interview. But, the NBC reporter interviewing him heard something else entirely.
“As you can hear the chants from the crowd — ‘Let’s go Brandon,’” the reporter said, pausing in the middle of her sentence to give the chant time to be fully heard, before asking Brown about his strategy for the race. From then on, the phrase took off.
The reaction on social media from pro-Biden people was both amusing and over the top. The desire to protect the feeble old man in the White House is strong from Democrats.
This one’s easy. I’m not flying on @SouthwestAir until the #LetsGoBrandon pilot is fired.
Who’s with me? ✋ https://t.co/SYEzsywKz9
— Jon Cooper 🇺🇸 (@joncoopertweets) October 31, 2021
The Southwest pilot must be fired.
— Scott Dworkin (@funder) October 31, 2021
A CNN analyst went all wacko about the incident. She encouraged every passenger to file a complaint with the FAA if something wasn’t done.
If @SouthwestAir doesn’t do anything, every passenger on that flight has standing to file a complaint with the @FAANews and they should do so. Southwest will then be compelled to investigate or defend him. Have fun with that. No messing around in the air. Bright line rule. https://t.co/L7VlZWJ0SU
— Juliette Kayyem (@juliettekayyem) October 30, 2021
I’ll admit to being pleasantly surprised when her colleagues in the news biz weighed in on her hysteria.
No investigation? Just let it glide. Nope. If he was joking, ok. We’ll find that out. But if it’s some hostile bs coming from the cockpit, anger issues or just asshole, commercial aviation rules are pretty clear about this stuff and this is an area not to be unclear about. https://t.co/gCk6U8MCrG
— Juliette Kayyem (@juliettekayyem) October 30, 2021
Context? Why do you think pilots are prohibited from making statements like this? Of any politics. Maybe it’s a big joke, a fuck you to Biden? Or it may show lack of restraint, a temper, or worse. It could upset passengers in air. It isn’t words generically. It is context.#safety https://t.co/HKVAX0dnlx
— Juliette Kayyem (@juliettekayyem) October 31, 2021
Settle down, Shirley. Have those on the left so easily forgotten the past four or five years? Trump came under the crudest of hissy fits from the left and yet we all survived. Remember when actor Robert De Niro walked out on the stage of the Tony Awards (it was televised) and began his remarks by screaming “F**k Trump!”? How about the photo of a woman cycling alongside Trump’s motorcade extending her middle finger at his car? Past presidents have all suffered the ire of opponents and seen crude signs and heard harsh words along the way. In this case, Let’s go Brandon is really tame. Biden’s name isn’t even used, it’s just a joke used by his critics.
Here’s the thing, though. While the critics of the airline pilot assume he is a MAGA guy, and of course racist, he could very well be a Democrat. The problem with those making assumptions is that Biden has critics unhappy with his performance in office all across the board, just a short nine months into his administration.
One CNN analyst compared his remark to supporting ISIS. Hyperbole, much?
As an experiment, I’d love for an @SouthwestAir pilot to say “Long live ISIS” before taking off. My guess is that 1) the plane would be immediately grounded; 2) the pilot fired; and 3) a statement issued by the airline within a matter of hours
— Asha Rangappa (@AshaRangappa_) October 31, 2021
We live in incredibly stupid times.
So, with all the hubbub since Friday, Southwest Airlines released a statement apologizing for the pilot’s words and promising an investigation.
“Southwest does not condone Employees sharing their personal political opinions while on the job serving our Customers, especially when comments are divisive and offensive,” the Texas-based airline said in a statement to The Washington Post on Sunday.
“Southwest is conducting an internal investigation into the recently reported incident and will address the matter directly with any Employee involved,” the statement continued. “The airline apologizes for this event — an action that was not reflective of the Southwest Hospitality for which we are known.”
Frankly, at first, when I read the AP reporter’s tweet about the incident, I questioned it. I thought it might end up as other wild stories have, like the stories of random noose sightings, for example, that turn out to be hoaxes. Apparently, the story is true. I would wager to say that more passengers smiled or chuckled than gasped, though. Americans are both angry and anxious about the various crises confronting us in Biden’s America. Biden’s numbers are tanking in the polls and it’s not just conservatives who are holding him responsible. He’s lost Independents, too.
Articles like the one in WaPo point to some of Trump’s crude remarks as if to blame the pilot’s remarks on him. Nine months into Biden’s administration and the left is still as Trump deranged as they were during Trump’s time in office. In the meantime, they should all be happy that a family-friendly chant has developed, instead of the F-bomb being used in large groups doing the chant.