Unlike a normal day at the White House, the scent of burgers, fries and victory wafted through the corridors of the presidential headquarters on Monday January 14th, as a salute from President Donald Trump to college football's Clemson Tigers for winning the national championship.
During the celebration, President Trump, a fast food lover, announced that he even paid for their meal himself because of the partial government shutdown. He did not disclose the tab.
Trump said after returning to the White House from a trip to New Orleans: "We ordered American fast food, paid for by me. Lots of hamburgers, lots of pizza." He added: "We have some very large people that like eating, so I think we're going to have a little fun."
"The president is personally paying for the event to be catered with some of everyone's favourite fast foods," spokeswoman Sarah Huckabee Sanders said. Much of the staff in the White House residence has been furloughed because of the government shutdown.
An impressive — and highly unusual — White House smorgasbord greeted the players. Silver trays held stacks of wrapped burgers from Wendy's. Also, on offer were boxed burgers from McDonald's, including Big Macs, while White House cups bearing the presidential seal held the fries.
As reported by AP, pizzas, some topped with olives and tomatoes, were also on the menu. Silver bowls held the condiments, and stacks of white plates sat nearby. Several young men were spotted eating multiple burgers at the standup tables dotting the East Room.
It is the second time the Clemson team has visited the White House since Trump took office. The Tigers were last there in June 2017 after their championship run the previous season.
Clemson coach Dabo Swinney has nominated this season's undefeated Tigers as the best college team ever. Trump called them a "great team, an unbelievable team."
Trump has routinely sparred with professional athletes during his two years in office. College football has managed to avoid such political controversies, with last year's champion Alabama also visiting the White House.