Thanks to Gov. Ron DeSantis, "Brandon, FL" was trending on Twitter.
The governor held a news conference Thursday morning in Brandon, where he signed a package of bills aimed at shielding Florida from any vaccine requirements on businesses. In addition to DeSantis, Attorney General Ashley Moody, Surgeon General Dr. Joseph Ladapo, House Speaker Chris Sprowls and Senate President Wilton Simpson attended the news conference at the Brandon Honda car dealership.
The governor's office didn't specify why the location of the conference was held there, although users on social media and some media outlets suspect it is a secret knock on President Joe Biden, just like the "Let's go, Brandon" phrase.
The phrase, which actually means "(expletive) Joe Biden," started trending last month.
In a video clip that is getting thousands of views online, a reporter at the press conference asked DeSantis about the choice to host in Brandon.
"It's obvious to a lot of the people in the crowd that they believe you chose Brandon because of the thing that goes around on certain websites," said the reporter, who was not identified on the video. "Is this why you came to Brandon because of the trolling of the Biden administration?"
DeSantis skirted the question with a compliment to the city instead: "So I think that Brandon, Florida, is a great American city. I think the people here are fantastic."
The crowd interrupted DeSantis to chant "Let's go, Brandon," but he quickly continued. "I can tell you ... my only negative on Brandon was when I was growing up playing baseball, they always used to beat us every year. But now, I think, as governor, I'm really proud ... We're proud to be able to make a stand for freedom in Brandon, Florida."
Without using the viral phrase "Let's go, Brandon," DeSantis then tweeted his Facebook livestream with the message: "Live from Brandon, FL: Gov. DeSantis Protects Employees and Families from COVID Mandates."
DeSantis has not used #LetsGoBrandon
DeSantis has refrained from using any "Brandon" phrase or retweeting it on social media. (Click here for a list of politicians who have used "Let's go, Brandon" publicly.)
But the governor, a staunch supporter of former President Donald Trump, is a frequent critic of Biden. He has appeared on news shows to slam the president's vaccine mandate, calling it unconstitutional, and he openly criticizes mask mandates in schools.
On Oct. 28, DeSantis announced he filed a lawsuit: "Florida is suing the Biden Administration over its mandate on federal contractors that is unlawfully jeopardizing thousands of jobs. No one should lose their job due to these mandates."
Most recently, DeSantis criticized Biden in a Nov. 6 tweet: "A mid-20s illegal alien posed as a 17-year-old, crossed the Southern Border, was dumped in Jacksonville and has now taken an innocent Floridian’s life. Biden’s reckless open borders policies are deadly."
Live from Brandon, FL: Gov. DeSantis Protects Employees and Families from COVID Mandates.https://t.co/5oWS4MJvNS
— Ron DeSantis (@GovRonDeSantis) November 18, 2021
But DeSantis is a fan of #DontTreadOnFlorida
A far cry from #LetsGoBrandon, the governor has tweeted #DontTreadOnFlorida on more than one occasion. The symbol of that trending phrase is based on the Gadsden flag, a historical American flag that features a rattlesnake coiled and ready to strike with the phrase, "don't tread on me." "Don't tread on Florida" takes the yellow flag and replaces the rattlesnake with an alligator.
John Torres column: "Let's go, Brandon?" Maybe this is as civil as our politics can get
How did "Let's go, Brandon" originate?
During an Oct. 2 NASCAR race at Talladega Superspeedway in Alabama, driver Brandon Brown was being interviewed by NBC Sports after he won. The NASCAR crowd was chanting something in the background that the sports reporter assumed was "Let's go, Brandon" to cheer on the 28-year-old NASCAR driver. The crowd apparently was chanting "F--- Joe Biden."
The cryptic insult has sparked a series of hashtags on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and TikTok as well as memes, photos, explanatory videos and commentary. Sports fans, in particular, have displayed banners and signs at various games.
Where is Brandon, Florida?
The town is in Hillsborough County in the Tampa-St. Petersburg area.
This article originally appeared on Florida Today: Let's go Brandon, Biden insult: DeSantis signs vaccine bill in Brandon, Florida