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WASHINGTON — President Trump welcomed the national champion Clemson Tigers college football team to the White House Monday evening for a fast food feast whose menu was inspired by the ongoing government shutdown.
Speaking with reporters ahead of the event, Trump ignored questions about the status of talks to end the shutdown and comments about white supremacy made by Republican Iowa Rep. Steve King. Instead, the president noted he had “ordered American fast food paid for by me” for a planned event with the players. Trump then gave members of the media a tour of a massive spread of food purchased from McDonald’s, Wendy’s and Burger King that had been laid out on a candlelit table. The smorgasbord also featured Domino’s pizza and french fries set up in paper cups adorned with the presidential seal.
In a written statement, White House press secretary Sarah Sanders said Trump was “personally paying for the event to be catered with some of everyone’s favorite fast foods” because “much of the residence staff at the White House is furloughed” and “Democrats refuse to negotiate on border security.”
As the press was paraded in to the state dining room to see the food, Yahoo News asked Trump, who is a noted fast food aficionado, which was his favorite item on the menu.
“I like it all. I like it all. It’s all good stuff, great American food,” Trump said. “And it’s going to be very interesting to see at the end of this evening how many are left.”
Here’s a video I shot of President Trump showing off his 300 hamburgers. pic.twitter.com/P06S6I5w07
— Hunter Walker (@hunterw) January 14, 2019
Yahoo News pressed the president on whether he prefers McDonald’s or Wendy’s.
“If it’s American, I like it. It’s all American stuff,” said Trump.
Trump went on to detail the dinner menu.
“We have pizzas. We have 300 hamburgers, many, many french fries, all of our favorite foods,” Trump said.
Trump then praised the unpaid White House staff that was on hand to help with the event and said Republicans were “really, really sticking together” in support of his demand for funding for a physical barrier on the U.S. border with Mexico.
The White House did not respond to a request for comment about how much the food cost. After showing off the stacks of hamburgers and other fast food items, Trump addressed the Clemson players from a stage in the East Room and explained that he could have canceled the event or chosen a far different menu.
“I had a choice — do we have no food for you or do we give you some little quick salads that the first lady will make along with … the second lady,” Trump explained. “I said you guys aren’t into salads. Or, do I … go out and send out for about 1,000 hamburgers. So that’s what we did.”
Addressing the athletes, who typically eat a highly regimented and nutritious diet, Trump noted the spread included “quarter pounders with cheese” and “Big Macs.”
“We have everything that I like that you like,” Trump said. “I know, no matter what we did, there’s nothing you can have that’s better than that.”
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