A caller who was on the line with Joe Biden and ended the conversation with the conservative meme “Let’s go Brandon” has defended himself, saying it was a joke.

Jared Schmeck and his kids were able to speak with the president and first lady after they called the North American Aerospace Defence Command’s long-running Santa Tracker hotline on Christmas Eve.

Norad’s Santa Tracker claims to track Santa’s movements as he travels around the world delivering children’s presents. There’s a public hotline created for children so they can find out where Santa is before Christmas Day arrives.

After some small talk with the father of four, Jill Biden wished Schmeck and his family a “wonderful Christmas,” to which he replied: “I hope you guys have a wonderful Christmas as well — Merry Christmas and Let’s go Brandon!”

For those who don’t know, “Let’s go Brandon” is a conservative meme that became a hidden way for Republicans to say the more explicit expression: “F**k Joe Biden.” It all began when Nascar fans were chanting the vulgar term and an NBC Sports broadcaster misheard and thought they were cheering on driver Brandon Brown by saying: “Let’s go Brandon.”

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From Dr. Biden’s wincing expression, she knew exactly what Schmeck meant but meanwhile, Biden appeared oblivious and replied: “I agree. Let’s go Brandon”.

He then asked Schmeck: “By the way are you in Oregon? Where’s your home?”

Though the call had been cut off by then so Schmeck couldn’t respond.

While the clip hit the headlines, Schmeck was criticised for his meme moment with the president, but the 35-year-old insisted he has “nothing against” him.

“At the end of the day, I have nothing against Mr Biden,” Jared Schmeck told the Oregon Live. “But I am frustrated because I think he can be doing a better job. I mean no disrespect to him.”

The former police officer who describes himself as a “free-thinking American and follower of Jesus Christ” explained how he said the comment to the president as a “joke” to air out his annoyance at Biden’s policies, including the federal vaccine mandates, inflation and global supply chain problems.

“Now I am being attacked for utilising my freedom of speech … 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,” he said.

Schmeck claimed he also wasn’t aware his phone conversation was being live-streamed, the same publication reported, but they posted their own recording of the conversation on Schmeck’s YouTube channel.

“[Biden] 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,” he said.

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