If you thought politics couldn’t leave its unsavory aftertaste on absolutely everything in the Golden State, there goes In-N-Out Burger. The fast food chain’s Fisherman’s Wharf outpost—the only one in San Francisco—got its indoor eating area temporarily shut down for refusing to comply with the city’s rule that restaurants must check guests’ vaccination status, and a culture war ensued.
As Politico reports, Republicans can hardly contain themselves at the prospect of jumping into a seeming rift between the bluest state and one of its favorite guilty pleasures.
And no wonder, with the company’s Chief Legal Officer releasing statements like, “We refuse to become the vaccination police for any government.”
Conservative chatterbox Candace Owens shared a pic of herself on Twitter chowing down on some In-N-Out on Thursday with the message, “Thank you for serving the unvaccinated AND the vaccinated. Business without discrimination. Businesses that would have served black people in the Jim Crow era.”
Dear @innoutburger and @ChickfilA,
Thank you for serving the unvaccinated AND the vaccinated.
Business without discrimination. Businesses that would have served black people in the Jim Crow era.
God bless those who refuse government “mandates” that demand discrimination. 🇺🇸 pic.twitter.com/m4vhpIkycH
— Candace Owens (@RealCandaceO) October 21, 2021
Owens’s bold stance, however, didn’t necessitate her eating the people’s food twice, since she shared the same photo of herself at that Dallas, Texas location back in July.
Also sharing In-N-Out love on Twitter was Christina Pushaw, press secretary for Florida Governor Ron DeSantis, who begged, “PLEASE come to Florida!”—though anyone who’s tried to choke down pizza in Miami (or Hollywood Beach, or Dania) knows they should work on that first.
Rand Paul got into the act as well.
Who said corporations can’t act heroically?
— Senator Rand Paul (@RandPaul) October 20, 2021
Some California Democrats, meanwhile, have retaliated by savaging In-N-Out’s fries.
Long Beach Mayor Robert Garcia called them, “Literally, the worst fries,” while San Diego Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez claimed they can’t be eaten without going “animal style” with the toppings.
“Then, totally not worth the calories,” she added.
The burger-maven’s conservative leanings are nothing new.
In 2018, California Democratic Party Chair Eric Bauman wanted to boycott the chain after it donated $25,000 to the California Republican Party, and In-N-Out has given a total of $110,000 to the California Republican Party since 2015.
Detail-oriented diners might also have noticed the Bible verses on In-N-Out packaging, such as Proverbs 3:5 on the shake cups: “Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding.”
These are the work of Richard Snyder, the born again Christian son of In-N-Out’s founders, who first started putting the verses on packaging in 1987. This tradition was then expanded by Snyder’s great niece, current CEO Lynsi Snyder, who turned to religion after the death of her father and three failed marriages.
The California Business Roundtable says that while it encourages employees and customers to get vaccinated, making store workers responsible for enforcement creates “major liability issues.”
Roundtable rep Brooke Armour Spiegel tells Politico, “In this case, a part-time high school student could be on the front lines of what is a very contentious and unfortunately violent issue in the nation, without any training or increased safety.”