McDonald’s CEO Chris Kempczinski condemned an attack on the U.S. Capitol by supporters of President Trump earlier this week, calling them an “attack on all those things that people cherish and associate with America” in a letter to the system on Friday, viewed by Restaurant Business.
Kempczinski also said that he endorsed a statement from the Business Roundtable, a group of U.S. business leaders, condemning Trump and other elected officials who “incited this insurrection.”
“As a quintessentially American brand, McDonald’s has always benefitted from the respect and admiration that consumers hold for the ideals of this nation,” Kempczinski wrote. “So much of this rests within this country’s strong system of governance, freely elected leadership, and our rule of law.
“Thus, the attack that we witnessed this week wasn’t just an attack on our Capitol building. It was an attack on all those things that people cherish and associate with America. That includes McDonald’s.”
In the letter, Kempczinski said he was in the chain’s restaurants in Illinois when the news broke of the riot, in which Trump supporters pushed into the capitol building, damaged and defaced property, clashed with police and assaulted members of the media.
“I’m grateful to our field teams in the Washington D.C. area and around the United States, who acted swiftly to safeguard McDonald’s restaurants and crew,” Kempczinski said, noting there was “no harm or damage” in any of the chain’s restaurants.
He also noted that “Americans were proud to see our elected members of Congress—the representatives of the people—return that same night to complete their constitutional duty and enable the peaceful transition of power that is a cornerstone of American democracy.”
But, he added, that “does not mean we can simply put this week behind us.”
Kempczinski said he pledged the support of McDonald’s “to work collaboratively with our elected officials as we continue to confront our nation’s challenges—chief among them the need for unity and the threat of the pandemic.”
In a statement following the attack on Wednesday, the Business Roundtable called the chaos “the result of unlawful efforts to overturn the legitimate results of a democratic election,” in which President-Elect Joe Biden defeated Trump—only to see the president undertake numerous efforts to overturn the result.
In another statement on Thursday, the business group called efforts to overturn the election a danger to the economy.
“Yesterday’s inexcusable violence and chaos at the Capitol makes clear that elected officials’ perpetuation of the fiction of a fraudulent 2020 presidential election is not only reprehensible but also a danger to our democracy, our society and our economy,” the statement said.
“After the unconscionable and tragic events we witnessed, it could not be clearer that it is time for the nation and lawmakers to unite around President-elect Biden and Vice President-elect Harris. It is only together that we can move forward to successfully confront our nation’s many challenges, chief among them ending the pandemic, and ensuring a safe and rapid economic recovery.”