Politicians Who Are Obsessed With Fast Food

One particular U.S. politician is known to adore fast food more than any other. This controversial political figure's preference for fast food is widely-known. And while some may question the entire validity of his elected position, that's never stopped him from containing his love of greasy food made in a quick-service style. You know precisely who we're talking about: the one and only Mayor McCheese.

Frankly, it's difficult imagining any U.S. politician more obsessed with fast food than the McDonald's Playland character (one whose actual ascension to the powerful position of 'mayor' is shrouded in mystery). But if we venture out of the cartoon realm and into the real world, there are actually quite a few genuine politicians without cheeseburgers for heads who can't help themselves when it comes to fast food. Perhaps it's a desire to appear connected to the so-called everyman (and woman) that drives some politicians to publicly proclaim their fast food love. The go-go-go nature of an elected official's role likely plays a hand in many politicians' prioritization of fast food as well, given the ease of ordering (and eating) from those establishments.

Whether it's due to convenience, the cynical calculation of appearing broadly appealing, or a genuine love for certain fast food chains, there are plenty of U.S. political figures who are absolutely smitten with fast food. We compiled some of the more noteworthy examples, and present those politicians who are obsessed with fast food.

Bill Clinton

If you weren't around during former President Bill Clinton's first term in office, you may not remember the man's widely-discussed love of all-things-junk food during those days — including a penchant for fast food. Luckily for anyone who missed the halcyon days of the early-1990s — when Clinton was merely a hip, saxophone-playing former Arkansas Governor who "didn't inhale" — you can reminisce about his McDonald's obsession with an all-time classic "Saturday Night Live" sketch starring the late Phil Hartman as Clinton.

Of course, there's no evidence the former U.S. president was known to stop at a local Mickey D's and pilfer parts of customers' meals during runs. But the famously genial politician was never shy about mingling with the common folk during his political career, and his love for fast food was so well-known that the "SNL" sketch's premise was inherently funny.

Interestingly, it wasn't just fast food that Clinton was obsessed with before (and during?) his time in the White House. As his wife Hillary told The New York Times in 1992, the then-president-elect loved "to eat and enjoys it ... even when things are not always right for him." It's unlikely the man still consumes as much fast food as he did on the 1992 campaign trail, but the memory of his junk food enthusiasm lives on.

Donald Trump

There have been far too many words written and spoken about Donald Trump over the past seven years — more than anyone could ever need. Yet no matter where you stand on the controversial politician, the former President (who announced a 2024 run for the White House in November 2022after his 2020 loss) is unlikely to leave the news cycle as long as he draws breath. In other words, the fast food-loving Trump is destined to remain in the public eye until he's no longer able to enjoy a Big Mac and a chocolate (malted) shake.

Now, like just about every aspect of the businessman-turned-politician's life, the core reasons for Trump's obsession with fast food have been analyzed nearly to death — including the man's literal fear of death. After all, the (supposed) billionaire harbors "a longtime fear of being poisoned," according to the Michael Wolff book "Fire and Fury: Inside the Trump White House" (via Business Insider). Consequently, he tends to prioritize chains where "nobody knew he was coming and the food was safely premade."

Trump's love for fast food also appears tied to the reliability and consistency of large fast-food chains. And as he told CNN in 2016, he holds a particular fondness for McDonald's, Burger King, and KFC — even describing the fried chicken chain's food as "not the worst thing in the world" nutritionally-speaking.

Joe Biden

We don't necessarily care to delve into any sort of political debate here at Mashed, since we do food, not politics. But we have to admit: no matter how you feel about President Joe Biden's policies or performance in office, the man's a fairly boring presence, particularly compared to most modern-day elected officials. Actually, the relative mundaneness of Biden's entire political approach sort of explains his love for Dairy Queen — and, well, fast food ice cream in general.

Biden's never been shy about his unmatched passion for ice cream, of course, even telling a crowd he could "eat more ice cream than three other people" in 2016, according to The Hill. And his borderline obsession with ice cream has led to several public appearances at Dairy Queen locations over the years while in office, and on the campaign trail.

During a 2019 visit to an Iowa Dairy Queen, Biden demonstrated the thickness of a pair of Blizzards by turning them upside down (briefly). Additionally, in October 2020, he posted a clip of himself double-fisting Dairy Queen desserts — further proving he's obsessed with the fast food establishment and its ice cream.

Barack Obama

It doesn't take a forensic scientist to see being president took a legitimate toll on Barack Obama's physical appearance. Frankly, if we wanted to make a stale joke wholly lacking in originality, we'd mention how two terms as President of the United States aged Obama 80 years rather than eight. But the unimaginable pressure of the presidency didn't just drive the man's rapid aging. In fact, we'd bet it helped drive his obsession with fast food burgers, as well — one that included trips to Shake Shack and Five Guys while in office, according to The Washington Post.

Obama's love for a well-made cheeseburger is easy to understand. Virtually nothing can match the absolute paradise found when eating a juicy beef patty topped with gooey melted cheese. And it's no wonder the former president is a fan of Five Guys and Shake Shack, since neither fast food chain uses frozen beef patties.

While neither of those fast food chains provided a perfectly-prepared burger for Obama on his 50th birthday (he visited Good Stuff Eatery on Capitol Hill instead, according to The Atlantic), it's clear the semi-retired politician has a soft spot for fast food burgers. Not that anyone can blame him.

Lindsey Graham

After classified documents were found at the homes of Donald Trump, Mike Pence, and Joe Biden in January 2023, the circumstances were hard to fathom. After all, you'd expect a president or vice president to treat the nation's top secrets with immense caution — a viewpoint shared by U.S. Senator Lindsey Graham. But the South Carolina politician didn't simply chastise the guilty parties during a press conference on C-SPAN; rather, he used the events to demonstrate his continued obsession with Chick-fil-A, quipping you'd only find "a bunch of Chick-fil-A bags on the floor" at his home.

Now, let's set aside the somewhat disturbing notion that Graham may not throw away his trash after eating a meal (a horrifyingly disgusting thought). Frankly, the fact the four-term Senator used the line twice (in the press conference, and during an appearance on "Fox & Friends") shows he really wants the world to know how much he enjoys Chick-fil-A.

Graham's displayed his genuine love for the fast food chain on several other occasions, as well. He was seen gleefully enjoying Chick-fil-A's food in a 2012 Facebook post, and reiterated his unequivocal support for the restaurant in 2021, after some Notre Dame University students opposed the opening of a restaurant on campus due to its previous donations to anti-LGBTQ+ groups.

Beto O'Rourke

Not unlike New England residents' unabashed loyalty to Dunkin', folks from Texas love Whataburger. For proof, look no further than politician Beto O'Rourke. The born-and-bred Texan is so enamored with the fast food burger chain that some believe he modeled his 2020 Presidential campaign logo (and that of his 2018 Senatorial run) on the Whataburger logo, according to Business Insider.

Now, whether or not this was just some attempt to pander to Texas voters from O'Rourke (the political equivalent of "always a bridesmaid, never a bride") is hard to say. But even if the logo design was an attempt to appeal to the masses though an aesthetic choice, it hardly negates the reality that the man does, in fact, love Whataburger.

Would O'Rourke have treated then-Presidential candidate Joe Biden to a meal at a local Whataburger after a March 2020 rally, according to El Paso Times, if he didn't truly enjoy the restaurant? We doubt it. And while his public fast food adoration doesn't appear to have won him any voters, at least he can always console himself with a classic Whataburger or two while ruminating on his previous election losses.

Ted Cruz

The phrase "hypocritical politician" is sort of an oxymoron, isn't it? After all, if we learned nothing else from Tommy Carcetti (Aidan Gillen) on "The Wire," it's that political ambition is all but destined to force a person to compromise on their principles. Of course, while an insincere politician is never surprising, it is occasionally newsworthy. Take U.S. Senator Ted Cruz's alleged obsession with White Castle, for instance — a fast food chain that had no locations in his home state of Texas as of January 2020.

Now, does White Castle actually hold a special place in Cruz's heart? Well, according to a 2018 campaign commercial directed by Richard Linklater, it does indeed. The advertisement (for then-Senate candidate Beto O'Rourke) featured footage of the Senator seemingly dissing Whataburger (which has hundreds of Texas locations as of February 2023) in one clip, and proclaiming his appreciation for White Castle in another.

Obviously, we shouldn't be shocked that a man who went to school at Princeton and Harvard may hold a fondness for fast food found in the Northeast. While it may make Cruz a hypocrite for constantly deriding that region of the country while extolling the virtues of Texas, we're not here to judge. We're just sharing the interesting tidbit that Ted Cruz appears to love White Castle more than any of the countless fast food restaurants in Texas.

Pete Buttigieg

Sometimes, a company's product is so unequivocally fantastic that a person can't help but purchase it despite any moral or ethical misgivings. Even if a fast food chain has publicly supported causes that, say, seek to deny an entire group of people their right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness, if that restaurant's food is unrivaled, well ... what's a little faith-based bigotry? At least, that seems to be the relative thought process behind Pete Buttigieg declaring his admiration for Chick-fil-A's chicken in 2019.

Now, if it seems shocking that the openly gay Buttigieg — the U.S. Secretary of Transportation as of 2023 — would be a fan of a fast food chain known for its past anti-LGBTQ+ stance, that's because it is. But to be perfectly fair to Buttigieg, he didn't ignore that elephant in the room when mentioning his enjoyment of Chick-fil-A's food.

As he said during an interview with The Breakfast Club in March 2019, though he does "kind of approve of their chicken," he clearly does "not approve of their politics." Still, it's not as though Chick-fil-A is the only game in town — and we'd suggest Buttigieg consider Popeye's the next time he's hankering for a fried chicken sandwich.

Mike Huckabee

We have to admit we were sort of stunned to discover Mike Huckabee among those politicians obsessed with fast food. After all, the former Arkansas Governor famously lost more than 100 pounds during the mid-2000s. Evidently, though, his slimmed-down body hasn't stopped him from continuing to love Chick-fil-A and its food. In fact, Huckabee even led a charge in 2012 to increase sales at the Chick-fil-A locations nationwide on the first day of August that year.

The call for an anti-boycott of Chick-fil-A on August 1, 2012 led to a number of prominent Republican politicians visiting locations and eating its food that day, including Sarah Palin, Michele Bachmann, and Scott Duncan, according to CBS News. Of course, it's not as though Huckabee skipped the action, sharing a number of pictures of himself interacting with (and interviewing?) staff members and fellow customers at one restaurant.

Frankly, we have to wonder whether Huckabee (or any other prominent conservative politician) is obsessed with defending Chick-fil-A because of its food, or its publicly-declared Christian corporate culture. But at least Huckabee put his money where his mouth was in 2012, and likely put some Chick-fil-A where his mouth is in the process.

Paul Ryan

Being a member of Congress is a nonstop grind of grueling legislative work. Consequently, the rationale behind why many members of Congress seem to be obsessed with — and often eat — fast food while working is apparent: it offers a quick, convenient meal that requires little time or effort. Former U.S. Congressman Paul Ryan often fell into this category during his time as Speaker of the House, and when looking for a fast food meal, he wasn't shy about his love for Chick-fil-A. In fact, his office spent a startling $2,500 at the restaurant in May and June of 2016 alone, according to Roll Call.

Unsurprisingly, Ryan's hefty Congressional Chick-fil-A bill (a tab we're sure was picked up by U.S. taxpayers!) wasn't the only time his obsession with the fast food chicken chain was shared publicly. In August 2012, while playing a word-association game during an interview with CNN, Ryan responded to "Chick-fil-A" with a simple reply of "good chicken."

Of course, seeing as Ryan added "free people exercising their free speech rights" after his chicken praise during that CNN interview, his obsession with Chick-fil-A doesn't appear limited to the product itself. After all, would Ryan still love the chicken joint if it suddenly declared its support for LGBTQ+ equality? Frankly, we have our doubts.

Herman Cain

Herman Cain isn't the only U.S. politician with high-level fast food experience (U.S. Congressman Kevin Hern owned a number of McDonald's restaurants until 2021, for example). But he may be the only one who loved his favorite fast food item so much that he created a song parody dedicated to said item, as Cain did about pizza in 1991. Of course, while the late Cain (who passed away from COVID in July 2020) couldn't match Weird Al Yankovic when it comes to food-based songwriting, his 1991 performance for the Omaha Press Club perfectly illustrates his crystal clear obsession with fast food — or, at least, fast food pizza.

Now, interestingly enough, while Cain's love of pizza (stemming from his time as CEO of Godfather's Pizza from 1988 until 1996) is well-documented, it wasn't his only professional experience with the fast food industry. Then again, while he did indeed oversee a number of Burger King restaurants in the Philadelphia, Pennsylvania area before moving to Godfather's, he never created a John Lennon-inspired ditty about burgers.

No, Cain's obsession with eating fast food pizza seemed to supersede all others. After all, as he once sang, if one has to "imagine only burgers" in the world (via Business Insider), he'd find that "frightening and sad."

Elissa Silverman

Is a non-chain pizza restaurant considered fast food? Perhaps not — at least if you choose to categorize pizza as a quick-service or fast-casual restaurant instead of a fast food joint. Then again, other than semantics, is there any real difference between those three restaurant types? We'd say no. Hence, Washington D.C. city councilmember Elissa Silverman's genuine obsession with pizza in the U.S. capital city makes her a natural addition to this list.

For one thing, Silverman doesn't appear to be very discerning when it comes to where to eat. Not only did she tell Washingtonian in 2022 that she'd "eaten at every one of" the city's top 100 pizza places according to Yelp, she'd even "eaten a 7-Eleven pizza" as a result of her quest to consume as much of the food as possible.

Silverman's obsession with the Italian fast food staple can be traced back to 2000 as well, when she wrote an op-ed in Washington City Paper lamenting the state of pizza in D.C. Clearly, more than two decades later, she remains as infatuated with the fast food item as she did at the start of the 21st century.

Jim McGovern

The seeming ubiquity of Dunkin' restaurants in Massachusetts is a bit of a running joke among residents. Of course, since there were 1,083 Dunkin' locations in the state (one for every 6,500 residents) as of April 2022, it's easy to see how the donut-and-coffee shop chain is as unavoidable as it is beloved. Politicians are no different in their love of all things Dunkin', including U.S. Congressman Jim McGovern from Massachusetts. In fact, McGovern isn't just obsessed with Dunkin' — he declared the Massachusetts-founded chain has "the best coffee in the world" in 2017, according to Boston.com.

Clearly, there's no better way to express one's devotion to a fast food restaurant than stating its product is literally unbeatable across the globe. McGovern doing so on the record, during an official U.S. House of Representatives House Rules Committee hearing, only further illustrates his admiration for Dunks.

Perhaps unsurprisingly, given its close connection with the state, McGovern isn't the only Massachusetts politician with a Dunkin' obsession. In fact, according to Sentinel & Enterprise, Massachusetts candidates spent $15,753.96 at Dunkin' in 2013 — a whopping 10 times more than campaigns spent at any other restaurant that year.