Donald Trump ordered 300 burgers from McDonald’s to feed an American football team that were visiting the White House after the in-house kitchen remained closed due to the government shutdown.
The White House kitchen reportedly employs five full-time chefs and can normally serve dinner to more than 140 guests and hors d’oeuvres to in excess of 1,000.
But with the chefs among the 800,000 federal workers on mandatory leave or working without pay, president Trump decided to take matters into his own hands when newly-crowned college football champions Clemson Tigers were invited to celebrate their victory.
Players who entered the State Dining Room were greeted by the sight of an enormous quantity of fast food, including burgers, fries and pizza.
Mr Trump told the players that he did not want to postpone the event until after the shutdown and therefore took it upon himself to find a solution.
Before the meal, the president reportedly told journalists: “Because of the shutdown, as you know… we went out and we ordered American fast food paid for by me. I think they’d like it better than anything we could give. We have pizzas, we have 300 hamburgers, many, many French fries, all of our favourite foods – I want to see what’s here when we leave, because I don’t think it’s going to be much.”
— The White House (@WhiteHouse) January 15, 2019
Sky News said that spokeswoman Sarah Huckabee Sanders confirmed much of the staff in the White House residence had been granted a leave of absence because of the shutdown “so the president is personally paying for the event to be catered with some of everyone’s favourite fast foods”.
About a quarter of the federal government has been shut down for the past three weeks linked to funding and Mr Trump’s campaign pledge to build a wall on the border with Mexico.