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Donald Trump orders fast food feast for college American football team at White House reception

Ross McGuinness
Donald Trump presents a feast of burgers, fries and pizzas at the White House (Picture: The White House)
Donald Trump presents a feast of burgers, fries and pizzas at the White House (Picture: The White House)

Donald Trump ordered a feast of fast food for a White House reception as many catering staff were absent because of the ongoing government shutdown.

The US president ordered more than 300 burgers from McDonald’s and Wendy’s, as well as pizzas and fries, for a college American football team.

The government shutdown has meant hundreds of thousands of public sector workers, including White House staff, have been on mandatory leave or working without pay for 24 days.

The shutdown has been caused by politicians’ failure to reach a budget agreement – Mr Trump has refused to approve one unless it includes funding for his controversial wall along the border with Mexico, but Democrats have rejected his request for $5.7 billion (£4.5bn).

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“Because of the shutdown… we went out and we ordered American fast food paid for by me,” Mr Trump told the Clemson Tigers football team, winners of the national college championship, at the event in the State Dining Room on Monday.

“We have pizzas, we have 300 hamburgers, many, many French fries, all of our favourite foods.

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“I want to see what’s here when we leave, because I don’t think it’s going to be much.”

A renowned lover of fast food, Mr Trump said: “If it’s American, I like it. It’s all American stuff.”

The president did not reveal how much he had paid for the fast food feast.

Guests attending a reception for the Clemson Tigers grab fast food sandwiches in the State Dining Room of the White House in Washington, Monday, Jan. 14, 2019. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh)
Guests attending a reception for the Clemson Tigers grab fast food sandwiches in the State Dining Room of the White House in Washington, Monday, Jan. 14, 2019. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh)
French fries and pizza were some of the fast food items for the reception (Picture: AP)
French fries and pizza were some of the fast food items for the reception (Picture: AP)

“We have some very large people that like eating, so I think we’re going to have a little fun,” he said.

Spokeswoman Sarah Huckabee Sanders said many of the staff in the White House residence are absent because of the shutdown, “so the president is personally paying for the event to be catered with some of everyone’s favourite fast foods”.

An impressive – and highly unusual – White House smorgasbord greeted the players. Silver trays held stacks of wrapped burgers from Wendy’s.

Also on offer were boxed burgers from McDonald’s, including Big Macs. White House cups bearing the presidential seal held the fries.

Pizzas, some topped with olives and tomatoes, were also on the menu. Silver bowls held the condiments and stacks of white plates sat nearby.

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Several young men were spotted eating multiple burgers at the stand-up tables dotting the East Room.

The Clemson team’s visit is its second since Mr Trump took office.

Mr Trump would not reveal how much he paid for the fast good smorgasbord (Picture: The White House)
Mr Trump would not reveal how much he paid for the fast good smorgasbord (Picture: The White House)
Guests attending a reception for the Clemson Tigers grab fast food sandwiches in the State Dining Room of the White House (Picture: AP)
Guests attending a reception for the Clemson Tigers grab fast food sandwiches in the State Dining Room of the White House (Picture: AP)

The Tigers last visited in June 2017 after their championship run the previous season.

Clemson coach Dabo Swinney has hailed this season’s undefeated Tigers as the best college team ever.

Mr Trump welcomes the 2018 college football national champions the Clemson Tigers to the White House (Picture: AP)
Mr Trump welcomes the 2018 college football national champions the Clemson Tigers to the White House (Picture: AP)

Mr Trump called them a “great team, an unbelievable team”.

The president has routinely sparred with professional athletes during his two years in office.

College football has managed to avoid such political controversies, with last year’s champions Alabama also visiting the White House.