Democratic presidential hopeful Pete Buttigieg thinks he could one day make peace between the LGBTQ community and fast-food chain Chick-fil-A, which has a history of donating millions of dollars to anti-LGBTQ causes.
Controversy over the Georgia-based fast-food company goes back to 2012 when CEO Dan Cathy’s homophobic views and denouncement of same-sex marriage, as well as the company’s extensive record supporting anti-LGBTQ causes, sparked nationwide boycotts. Consumers protested Chick-fil-A as the chain scrambled to promise customers that the private company was not pushing an anti-LGTBQ agenda. Still, the company has continued to donate large sums of money to discriminatory causes, with tax filings showing the fast-food chain donated $1.8 million in 2017 to organizations that openly preach anti-LGBTQ sentiments.
However, Buttigieg, a gay Afghanistan War veteran and Rhodes scholar, suggested he hasn’t sworn off the eatery entirely.
“I do not approve of their politics, but I kind of approve of their chicken,” the South Bend, Indiana, mayor said during a Tuesday interview on New York City’s Power 105.1 FM “Breakfast Club” radio show. “Maybe if nothing else, I can build that bridge. Maybe I’ll become in a position to broker that peace deal.”
Though Buttigieg has not yet formally announced a 2020 run, he has launched an exploratory committee, making a series of media appearances and speeches calling for unity and inclusivity. If nominated, Buttigieg would become the first openly gay major-party presidential candidate.
“We’ve got to find a way to use our identities to reach other people,” he said, asking listeners to focus on the commonalities they share rather than the differences that separate them.
“I think good art has that, good music has that, good literature has that, good chicken sandwiches and good politics,” he added. “We’ve got to get back to that before this current presidency just completely tears us apart.”