Donald Trump had a very untraditional meal awaiting the Clemson University football team on Monday night as they visited the White House to celebrate their national championship victory.
With the White House kitchen staff furloughed due to the grinding shutdown of the federal government, the president, 72, served the South Carolina team a spread of hamburgers, french fries and pizza from McDonald’s, Wendy’s, Burger King, and Domino’s.
The feast — laid out on silver platters across a candelabra-lit table in the State Dining Room — was paid for by Trump personally, he claimed to reporters.
“Because of the shutdown, you know we have the great Clemson team with us, the national champions. So we went out and we ordered American fast food, paid for by me,” Trump said, CNN reported. “Lots of hamburgers, lots of pizza. … We have some very large people that like eating. So I think we’re going to have a little fun.”
Added deputy press secretary Hogan Gidley to CNN in a statement: “The President wanted to host a fun event to celebrate the College Football National Champion Clemson Tigers. Because the Democrats refuse to negotiate on border security, much of the residence staff at the White House is furloughed, so the President is personally paying for the event to be catered with some of everyone’s favorite fast foods.”
Trump certainly seemed happy with how things to turned out.
To celebrate, the former Celebrity Apprentice host — who has claimed in the past to be a big fan of fast food himself — posed behind the table for photographers, beaming with pride.
He called the smorgasbord “great American food,” CNN reported. “If it’s American, I like it,” he said. “It’s all American stuff.”
Later, Trump told the Clemson team that he had bought “1,000” food items, Time reported. “We have Big Macs, we have Quarter Pounders with cheese, we have everything that I like, that you like,” he said. “And I know no matter what we did, there’s nothing you could have that’s better than that.”
The Clemson University Tigers — who triumphed in the championship, 44 to 16, over the University of Alabama’s Crimson Tide on Jan. 7 and who previously visited the White House in after their championship win in 2017 — weren’t the only ones feasting on the spread.
As photos from the event hit social media, the internet ate it up.
“A bit strange to see folks chomping on fast food burgers in the @WhiteHouse East Room,” wrote White House bureau chief for VOA News, Steve Herman, sharing video from the event.
“Still kind of can’t believe this meal is real,” added Clinton Yates.
Wrote Judd Legum: “This is an incredible self-own for someone who claims to be worth $10 billion.”
Still, Trump didn’t seem bothered.
“Great being with the National Champion Clemson Tigers last night at the White House,” he tweeted on Tuesday. “Because of the Shutdown I served them massive amounts of Fast Food (I paid), over 1000 hamberders [sic] etc. Within one hour, it was all gone. Great guys and big eaters!”
The government partially closed on Dec. 22, over the billionaire businessman-turned-president’s call for funding for a proposed southern border wall. With negotiations fruitless so far, the shutdown has become the longest in American history, surpassing the previous record of 21 days in the ’90s, under President Bill Clinton and a Republican-led Congress, according to CNN.