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Happy Meal

Trump buys hundreds of burgers for football team as shutdown impacts staff

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

Donald Trump Trump pictured with the food in the White House State Dining Room yesterday. Susan Walsh / AP Photo Susan Walsh / AP Photo / AP Photo

THE SCENT OF burgers wafted through the White House yesterday as US President Donald Trump welcomed the Clemson Tigers, winners of the national college football championship.

Trump, who has discussed his love of fast food in the past, said he paid for the meal himself because of the partial government shutdown. He did not disclose how much it cost.

“We ordered American fast food, paid for by me. Lots of hamburgers, lots of pizza,” Trump said after returning to the White House from a trip to New Orleans.

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

Tweet by @Hunter Walker Hunter Walker / Twitter Hunter Walker / Twitter / Twitter

Trump described the spread as “great American food”, telling reporters: “We have pizza, we have 300 hamburgers, many, many French fries – all of our favourite foods.”

White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said many employees in the White House residence have been furloughed 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 burgers from fast-food outlets such as McDonald’s, Burger King and Wendy’s. White House cups bearing the presidential seal held the chips. 

Donald Trump Trump pictured with the food Susan Walsh / AP Photo Susan Walsh / AP Photo / AP Photo

Silver bowls held the condiments, and stacks of white plates sat nearby. 

The Clemson team’s visit is its second since Trump took office. The Tigers last visited in June 2017 after their championship run the previous season.

Clemson coach Dabo Swinney has nominated this season’s undefeated Tigers as the best college team ever. Trump called them a “great team, an unbelievable team”.

Shutdown 

The partial government shutdown, which today enters its 25th day, is the longest in modern US history

The Democrats’ refusal to approve $5.7 billion (about €5 billion) demanded by Trump for a wall along the US-Mexico border project has paralysed Washington, with the president retaliating by refusing to sign off on budgets for swaths of government departments unrelated to the dispute.

As a result, some 800,000 workers including FBI agents, air traffic controllers and museum staff did not receive pay cheques last week. 

With additional reporting by Órla Ryan

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