Pete Buttigieg has accomplished a lot in his comparatively short life.
The South Bend, Ind., mayor graduated from Harvard, speaks eight languages and, at just 37 years old, is easily the youngest candidate in the 2020 presidential race.
But, according to the internet, there's one task Buttigieg has not mastered yet — eating a cinnamon roll.
A photo of the Democratic candidate biting into one of the gooey pastries began circulating late last week, after Eater published a profile of his campaign trail diet. The story featured the now-famous image, in which Buttigieg appears to be gnawing at a piece of the cinnamon roll from the side like a chicken wing.
— Adam Wren (@adamwren) November 7, 2019
Social media users instantly began weighing in with feedback, with many expressing horror over the way Buttigieg chose to eat his meal.
"I don't care what your politics are, it is illegal to cut a cinnamon roll into pieces with a knife and then eat it like a chicken wing," one person tweeted.
"Why does pete buttigieg look like an overly aggressive snapping turtle in any picture of him eating??" another commented.
— Jay Caruso (@JayCaruso) November 9, 2019
Even Meena Harris, the activist and niece of presidential candidate Kamala Harris, chimed in — simply tweeting, "I gasped." But many social media users also came to Buttigieg's defense, explaining the candidate's eating style and calling out his critics.
"A lot of y'all have never eaten anything while wearing a white shirt and it shows," one person tweeted.
"People criticizing Pete Buttigieg for eating a cinnamon roll with a knife and fork are just as bad as people who criticized Obama for wearing a tan suit or putting spicy mustard on a hot dog" another posted.
RE: @PeteButtigieg eating a cinnamon roll "weirdly"-- a lot of y'all have never eaten anything while wearing a white shirt and it shows.
— Ivy_Device (@Ivy_Device) November 11, 2019
The image was taken at Ruby’s Restaurant in Decorah, Iowa, where Buttigieg is currently campaigning heavily in preparation of the Iowa caucuses on Feb. 3, 2020. The 37-year-old shared a photo of his "ridiculously good" food on Twitter, telling followers he'd have to come back soon.
Auditor @RobSandIA did not steer us wrong with the hometown dining tips. Ridiculously good Ronnie’s Rolls from Ruby’s to start the day off right in Decorah, among other local treats. Will have to come back! pic.twitter.com/tuowtCz0QS
— Pete Buttigieg (@PeteButtigieg) November 3, 2019
Buttigieg's campaign also had some fun with the viral moment, as Lis Smith, the mayor's senior communications advisor, later tweeted a photo of actual chicken wings.
This isn't the first time a politician has come under fire for their eating style. New York mayor Bill de Blasio was famously mocked for eating pizza with a fork in 2014, later claiming the method was commonplace in Italy.
Earlier this year, 2020 presidential candidate Amy Klobuchar went viral over a story that she once ate a salad with a comb, a move that was allegedly designed to send a message to an aide who failed to give her a fork.