Military officials have made updates to policy after a mall on an American military base was found to be selling figurines of former Republican President Donald Trump bearing the slogan "Let's Go Brandon," a euphemistic slur against Democratic President Joe Biden that stands for "Fu*k Joe Biden."
The vendor selling the figurines at Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson in Anchorage is not affiliated with the military himself, and his contract with the mall on the base has since expired.
But his selling of the figurines has prompted officials to update their policies on what is and is not appropriate goods to be sold on military bases.
"Let's go Brandon" emerged as a right-wing slur against Biden in October following an incident in which a reporter either misheard or misrepresented an Alabama NASCAR crowd's chant of "Fu*k Joe Biden" as being a cheer for the winner of the day's race, NASCAR driver Brandon Brown.
It has since occasionally taken on more sinister attributes, such as gun dealers selling guns and ammo engraved with the phrase and Biden's likeness.
Given this context, the wooden figurines sold at Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson, which were of bears stylized to look like former President Trump holding a sign reading "Let’s Go Brandon," raised alarms among military officials, according to local newspaper The Anchorage Daily News.
Under Department of Defense guidance issued in 2020, active-duty military are prohibited from overt support of politicians, causes or campaigns that could give the impression the military has a partisan affiliation. An apolitical military is considered a cornerstone of the system of checks and balances outlined in the Constitution.
Chris Ward, senior public affairs manager for the Army & Air Force Exchange Service, told The Anchorage Daily News that the military has policies against products which are illegal, promote use of drugs or alcohol, contain racial or ethnic slurs or that condone racial or ethnic supremacy, and which are "lewd, profane and vulgar."
Though the "Let's Go Brandon" figurines don't explicitly fall under these categories, they were found to be inappropriate, and Ward told the Daily News policies would be updated accordingly.
“Once this product was identified, it was determined to be outside the established parameters for resale."
“Communication to incoming vendors will reflect the need to exclude products of this nature going forward."
On social media many were unnerved that such ominously partisan figurines were sold to military members.
In recent years, the military has seen a shocking rise in its members' affiliations with white nationalist groups and other of the far-right ideologies for which "Let's Go Brandon" has become a rallying cry. In 2020, more than one-third of service members reported witnessing service members engaging in white nationalist or other extremist activity.