Matt Hagee, the executive pastor of the Cornerstone Church in San Antonio, Texas, issued an apology after a video of the congregation chanting "Let's go Brandon!" sparked controversy.
The video was taken during a stop on the "ReAwaken America" tour, a series of events organized by far-right activists that has amplified baseless claims about the integrity of the 2020 general election as well as the efficacy of COVID-19 vaccines.
You can watch it below.
In his apology, Hagee attempted to distance himself from the event's organizers, saying they had not been "properly vetted":
"Regrettably, the organisation was not properly vetted. The Church is not associated with this organisation and does not endorse their views."
"I was invited to welcome the crowd where I thanked veterans for their service and thanked the crowd for their commitment to their faith. I deeply regret, and ask forgiveness, for what took place in the Cornerstone sanctuary as a result of my oversight."
The "Let's go Brandon!" chant has been used by conservatives to denigrate President Joe Biden. It began in October after an anti-Biden rap song began making the rounds, eventually rising to the top of the iTunes hip-hop chart.
The song, entitled "Let's Go Brandon," is performed by rapper Loza Alexander and went viral on TikTok.
It was inspired by the "Let's go Brandon!" meme that has taken social media by storm since NBC's Kelli Stavast interviewed NASCAR driver Brandon Brown after he came in first place at Alabama's Talladega Superspeedway in early October.
The interview went viral because the crowd could be heard chanting "F*** Joe Biden" in the background, which Stavast misheard as "Let's go Brandon!"
The moment, and the use of the chant since, is widely viewed as an example of the heightened political polarization in American politics as the Biden administration continues to work on bridging the gaps in a stalled legislature in an effort to codify its social and economic agenda.
Few see Hagee's apology as genuine and many have called on the Cornerstone Church to be taxed for violating the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment of the United States Constitution, which is often interpreted to require separation of church and state.
The "ReAwaken America" event made headlines last week after former National Security Advisor Michael Flynn, one of its keynote speakers, called for the United States to have a single religion.
Such claims are in direct opposition to the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution, which, among others, decrees that Congress "shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof."
And despite the controversy surrounding the "Let's go Brandon!" meme, it's safe to say that President Biden appears to have a sense of humor about it, as when he met with a man named Brandon to drum up support for his administration's "Build Back Better" intiative.
Although neither the President nor his social media and PR team confirmed that Biden was slyly putting divisive rhetoric to sleep, he received praise from social media users for subverting the joke.