"Eat up," President Donald Trump told a group of college football players who visited the White House on Monday for a lunch comprising of fast food. The North Dakota State Bison players were at the White House as part of the tradition for college teams to visit the president after winning the National Collegiate Athletic Association’s (NCAA) Football Championship.
According to The Washington Post, Trump had ordered Chick-fil-A and McDonald's for the North Dakota players. The publication reported that Trump said that he didn't order the White House chef to prepare a meal for a reason. "I know you people," Trump said to the crowd. "We like American companies."
The choice to offer fast food as a White House meal may strike some as strange, but this is not a first for Trump. In January, he presented a fast food meal for the Clemson Tigers following the team's historic championship win, citing the partial government shutdown that was in place at the time. "Because of the shutdown, you know we have the great Clemson team with us, the national champions," CNN reported Trump said then. "So we went out and we ordered American fast food, paid for by me. Lots of hamburgers, lots of pizza."
The spread containing fast food items may have been peculiar cuisine for the North Dakota State players. It was a special occasion after all; the Bison team had won its seventh national title in eight years. It was that kind of performance that Trump praised highly. According to The Sacramento Bee, Trump said, "When you play with passion and love ... and relentlessly reach for excellence, nothing is impossible."
The North Dakota team's coach, Matt Entz, told The Grand Forks Herald about the trip. "We addressed [politics]," Entz said to the publication. "This isn’t a political trip, this is a Bison trip and, personally, I sold it as two things: It’s one more opportunity for the 2018 team to be together, but also in my mind the start of the 2019 season and the things we’re going to do together."
As Entz said, politics weren't on the main agenda. Entz further told The Grand Forks Herald, "For me, personally, the number one thing is just the team being together. It’s probably watching our players as they experience something that some of them probably have never been a part of before. It’s seeing [the team's running back] Ty Brooks walk into the White House and just knowing that in 10 years from now he’s going to be able to tell his family, his friends, that, yeah, I went to the White House with my football team."
Of course, seeing McDonald's and Chick-fil-A served at the White House on such an occasion elicited all sorts of reactions on Twitter. Some simply couldn't believe their eyes. For others, it was a case of deja vu. Speaking of the Bison team getting a fast food spread on their massive victory, CNN political commentator Chris Cillizza tweeted: "It's happening again."