McDonald’s on a silver platter: what does the White House junk food banquet say about Trump?

McDonald’s on a silver platter: What does the White House junk food banquet say about Trump?

The president greeted the Clemson Tigers college football champion with an unforgettable dinner: pizza, more than 300 McDonald’s and Wendy’s burgers and “lots and lots” of fries. It was a dinner worthy of a president distinguished by his declared love of fast food and his efforts to relax the standards of healthy eating.

Running out of cooks at the White House due to the federal government shutdown, President Donald Trump rewarded champion Clemson Tigers with fast food. The menu? “McDonald’s, Wendy’s and Burger King with a small pizza,” Trump told reporters at the White House.

“I think that would be his favorite food, so we’ll see what happens… I like everything. I like everything,” Trump told reporters. “Everything is good, good American food.”

That Trump assumed it “would be his favorite food” says more about its taste than anything else. His explanation also shows how Trump sees his love of junk food as a show of patriotism and an ode to a more carefree past, when one didn’t think of the toll junk food had on health.

When pressed by a reporter on whether he preferred McDonalds or Wendy’s, Trump clarified:

“If it’s American, I like it. Everything is American… But it’s good and we have the national champion, you know, the Clemson Tigers. And they had a fantastic game against Alabama and they are all here. They’re just outside the venue and I think we’ll let them see them. But I bet the food we have, we have pizza, we have 300 burgers, lots and lots of fries. , all our favorite foods. I want to see what’s here when we leave, because I don’t think it’s going to be much. The reason we did this is because of the closure. We want to make sure everything is fine, so we sent it, we received it. And we have great people working in the White House. They helped us with that.

Clemson Tigers coach Jeff Scott tweeted a photo titled “Presidential Dinner #InSilverBand”

The President of Junk Food

Some have wondered if the White House cooks aren’t working due to the shutdown, why not pay them to cook one more dinner befitting the occasion? Trump also owns a hotel a few blocks away, so why not bring those cooks along? The hotel also has a steakhouse, a sushi restaurant and a lounge bar serving champagne and fine cheeses. Why not hire one of these options?

That’s partly because he really likes junk food, as he’s made it clear on multiple occasions. During a town hall on CNN in February 2016, Anderson Cooper asked him: “I understand that you are also a fast food guy, sometimes bringing fast food on your plane. When you go to McDonald’s, what does Donald order? Trump?”

The then contestant replied, “Fish Delight sometimes. [audience laughter] Big Macs are great, Quarter Pounders with cheese.”

A 2016 New York Times profile of Trump’s eating habits sheds light on how he differs from previous presidents on this point among many others.

“In an age of fine dining and an obsession with healthy ingredients, Mr. Trump is reverting to a more carefree past in American cooking, when no one bothered to ask if tomatoes were grown locally, and the first lady certainly didn’t have a garden.” , with a hive of bees, on the South Lawn of the White House.”

Footage from the fast food banquet Trump served at the White House

“Make America Great Again”

There’s also a lot to be said for how this dinner fits into the Trump aesthetic: silver platters and packets of ketchup, pizza warmed by candlelight. Although it’s a shocking image, it’s actually very much in line with what Trump stands for. The president has built his campaign trying to reach “ordinary people” who seek luxury but keep a taste for simple, fatty, salty-sweet, even if it’s not healthy.

Wanting to return to that “more carefree past” is one of the pillars of the philosophy behind his campaign and agenda as president, to “make America great again.” It’s about returning to an America where coal-mining factories proliferate and few care about the effects on the environment, pregnant women can smoke without being judged, and the traditional high-fat, high-carb diet makes havoc on public health. .

It was a past where fast food was “everyone’s favorite,” as Trump put it, but it’s mostly a favorite of kids. It’s a choice that some will see as simple and mundane, and others will see as childish and irresponsible.

In fact, it’s safe to say how unhealthy Monday’s presidential banquet was: The Washington Post determined, thanks to CalorieKing, how many calories were in the room: around 310,000, excluding sauces and dressings, and 16,000 grams fat.

And it’s not just his personal taste that Trump is embracing less healthy foods. This is a president who also overturned the healthier standards that former first lady Michelle Obama had imposed for food in school cafeterias. Gone are the days when the First Lady maintained a White House garden with a hive of bees.

To be fair, former President Barack Obama was also a well-known burger lover, even though he played basketball and worked out regularly. The same former first lady, who also organized the “Let’s Move” campaign, confessed her “obsession with french fries”. Michelle Obama actually visited the Washington Shake Shack when it opened and ordered the ShackBurger with fries, a milkshake and a Diet Coke. The difference? “Splurges are the key to life,” she said, when you normally exercise and eat well, things we know Trump doesn’t.

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