Over in the USA, things have been looking as turbulent there as they are here in the Brexit-battling UK. Amidst a government shutdown over lack of funding for his wall at the Mexican border, the petulant President somehow embarrassed himself even further with a gauche display at a White House celebration on Monday. The Commander in Chief decided that a fitting celebration for a university sports team was a spread of greasy American fast food.
What was the celebration for?
The White House welcomed football players from Clemson University to celebrate their victory over the Alabama Crimson Tide team. As a reward for winning the College Football Playoff National Championship, the Clemson Tigers from South Carolina made the trip to the stately building for a meal with the President. While you may expect the dinner to have met the level of prestige set by its location, Trump had other plans. Somewhat hilariously, staff stacked silver platters with boxes of Big Macs. Maybe the buffet of burgers shouldn’t seem so bizarre, considering Trump’s well-documented preference for fast food. The fries were served in White-House-branded disposable cups, accompanied by additional offerings from other fast food outlets. These included Wendy’s, Burger King, and Domino’s. Even the individually-packaged condiments were jarringly displayed using more elegant silverware.
Why did Trump serve McDonald’s?
Trump took plenty of opportunities to point out that he was paying for this dinner with his own money. Due to the ongoing government shutdown, which is the longest in history, the White House is lacking staff and funding for operations. Apparently, the First Lady Melania could have made salads, but Trump thought that a group of athletes would rather tuck into a load of greasy carbs. So he placed a mass order at multiple fast food chains and proudly served these no-doubt lukewarm delicacies to the visiting football team. Some consider this gimmick to be a weird attempt to seem down-to-earth and relatable to his working-class supporters. Others see it as being disrespectful to the athletes, who had to eat cheap food that they could have eaten anywhere during what was supposed to be a special occasion. Trump thought that his choice was patriotic, reiterating that the fast food was all American.
What are the reactions to this fast food feast?
The Clemson Tigers team members could have been bemused by this, but they all tucked into the food on offer anyway. None of them complained and none of the team chose to boycott the visit (perhaps unsurprisingly, as South Carolina is a mostly Republican state). Photographs of the spread circulating around Twitter were met with incredulity, and, of course, memes. People took to Photoshop to add Ronald McDonald or the Hamburglar to the images, or transform them into parodies of da Vinci’s painting The Last Supper. Though they are known for participating in viral memes, the Twitter accounts for all the fast-food chains involved have yet to offer their comments on these developments. Trump himself took to Twitter to remind everybody that he paid for the meal himself, doing his usual trick of twisting the facts (also known as lying) to somehow make 300 burgers into 1,000. Except he also made the excruciating mistake of referring to them as “hamberders,” which surely is almost as bad as 2017’s Covfefegate. This disaster has also resulted in the unearthing of a McDonald’s advert from 2002 featuring Donald Trump himself, which manages to be even weirder than his Pizza Hut advert from 1995, when he chose to bite into a slice crust-first.