WASHINGTON (Reuters) – U.S. President Donald Trump laid out a White House feast fit for a government shutdown on Monday: silver platters heaped high with McDonald’s quarter pounders and the red-and-white burger wrappers of Wendy’s.
White House chefs normally would serve much fancier fare underneath the stern gaze of the portrait of Abraham Lincoln in the State Dining Room. But they are furloughed, staying home without paychecks as Trump fights with Congress over funding the federal government.
The White House said Trump himself sprang for what he pronounced to be “great American food” for the visiting Clemson Tigers, winners of the U.S. college football championship.
“We have pizzas, we have 300 hamburgers, many, many french fries, all of our favorite foods,” Trump told reporters, as one White House worker still on the job lit tapered candles.
“I want to see what’s here when we leave, because I don’t think it’s going to be much,” Trump said, before the players, dressed in dapper suits, flooded the room and piled their plates high.
About a quarter of the federal government has been shut down for the past 24 days after Trump dug in on a campaign pledge to build a wall on the southern border with Mexico, demanding $5.7 billion from Congress for the project. Democrats have rejected his demand.
Trump told the players afterward that he did not want to postpone the event until after the shutdown – which is already the longest in history – ended.
Reporting by Roberta Rampton; Editing by Peter Cooney