WASHINGTON - Southwest Airlines said it's conducting an internal investigation after one of its pilots used a phrase that's become a stand-in for insulting President Joe Biden during the pilot's greeting to passengers over the plane's public address system.
The airline announced its investigation Sunday after The Associated Press reported the incident in a story about the growing use of the phrase "Let's go, Brandon," a euphemism in conservative circles for a vulgarity targeting Biden.
The pilot's use of the phrase drew audible gasps from some passengers on the flight from Houston to Albuquerque, New Mexico, on Friday. An AP reporter was on the flight.
FILE - A supporter of former U.S. President Donald Trump displays a "Let's Go Brandon" hat before a campaign event for Terry McAuliffe, Democratic gubernatorial candidate for Virginia, in Arlington, Virginia, on Oct. 26, 2021. Photographer: Al Drago/
Southwest Airlines Co., which is based in Dallas, said in a statement it would "address the situation directly with any Employee involved while continuing to remind all Employees that public expression of personal opinions while on duty is unacceptable."
"Southwest does not condone Employees sharing their personal political opinions while on the job serving our Customers, and one Employee’s individual perspective should not be interpreted as the viewpoint of Southwest and its collective 54,000 Employees," the statement said.
The phrase took off after an Oct. 2 incident at a NASCAR race in Alabama won by Brandon Brown, a driver who was being interviewed by an NBC Sports reporter.
The crowd behind Brown was chanting something, and the reporter suggested it was saying "Let’s go, Brandon" to cheer the driver. But it became increasingly clear to viewers that the crowd was saying, "F—- Joe Biden."
Some conservatives have pointed to the episode as an example of U.S. media covering for Biden. Since then, the phrase has been uttered on the House floor by a Republican lawmaker and used frequently by Biden critics on social media and at protests to slam the Democratic president.