Pete Buttigieg Praised for Torn Chick-fil-A Outlook: 'I Do Not Approve of Their Politics. I Kind of Approve of Their Chicken'

Pete Buttigieg, the Indiana politician who is competing for the Democratic nomination in the 2020 presidential race, has joked about brokering a "peace deal" between the LGBTQ community and Chick-fil-A, the fast-food chain with a history of anti-LGBT activity.

The openly gay mayor of South Bend told the hosts of The Breakfast Club podcast on Tuesday: "I do not approve of their politics, but I kind of approve of their chicken. So maybe if nothing else I can build that bridge. Maybe I will become in a position to broker that peace deal."

As Buttigieg's torn stance spread online, it was praised on social media networks. "I like this guy more and more every day… He has a sense of humor," one Twitter user wrote. Another person said: "Now that's a man with good taste and a good amount of common sense."

Chick-fil-A faced backlash in 2012 after its president and chief operating officer Dan Cathy told the Biblical Recorder his company supported the "biblical definition of the family unit." The company's founders have a history of making donations to anti-LGBTQ organizations.

Last November, Rider University in New Jersey scrubbed Chick-fil-A from a survey asking for student feedback about what restaurant they would like to see on campus. School officials acknowledged in a letter posted online that the food chain had been removed because of "the company's record that was widely perceived to be in opposition to the LGBTQ+ community."

On Monday, NBC News reported that the San Antonio City Council had recently voted to stop Chick-fil-A from launching a restaurant at San Antonio International Airport. Councilman Roberto Treviño said the decision had been made because of a "legacy of anti-LGBTQ behavior."

Last Wednesday, ThinkProgress reported on tax filings that suggested Chick-fil-A had donated more than $1.8 million in 2017 to three Christian organizations with a history of anti-LGBTQ policies: "$1,653,416 to the Fellowship of Christian Athletes, $6,000 to the Paul Anderson Youth Home, and $150,000 to the Salvation Army," Think Progress reported.

Buttigieg, a military veteran who was first elected mayor of South Bend in 2011 at age 29, told The Breakfast Club podcast his approach was about using "our identities to reach other people."

He said: "There's two things that can happen when you are conscious of your identity. One is it turns into all these ways we separate ourselves from each other, and it just turns into one big 'you don't know me.' But the other way we can do it is we can say, 'OK, I've got this experience, you've got this experience, what can we talk about that brings us together?'

"I have no clue what it's like to walk in the shoes of so many other people. But I can talk about some of the pieces of what I carry with me and see if it rhymes with their life experience. I think good art has that, good music has that, good literature has that." He then laughed and agreed with podcast host Lenard McKelvey, aka Charlamagne tha God, adding: "Good chicken sandwiches."

A spokesperson for the fast food chain told Newsweek in an emailed statement: "Chick-fil-A is a restaurant company focused on food, service and hospitality, and our restaurants welcome and embrace all people, regardless of race, gender, ethnicity, sexual orientation or gender identity. We do not have a political or social agenda and more than 145,000 people from different backgrounds and beliefs represent the Chick-fil-A brand." The firm declined to comment specifically on Buttigieg's comments.

This article was updated to include a statement from Chick-fil-A.