“Chick-Fil-A, they say? Chick-Fil-A,” President Trump said with a smile, addressing the crowds of footballers and sports representatives behind the grand mahogany table of the White House State Dining Room, as filmed by CNN. The fast food spread seemed somewhat at odds with the elegant floral arrangements, fine china, and silver service platters, but as the president so astutely acknowledged: “We could’ve had chefs, we could have, but we have fast food—because I know you people very well.”
The crowd laughed.
The North Dakota State Bison football team filled the dining room to bursting with their formidable height, broad shoulders, and record-breaking statistics. The president made a rousing speech to the team in honor of their hard work and dedication throughout the season, and then the hungry masses tucked in to a feast of McDonald’s and chicken sandwiches.
President Trump likes to treat his guests to “great American Food.” In fact, he recently paid for a fast food spread for the Clemson University football team out of his own pocket, citing the government shutdown as reason enough to eat well, in solidarity.
White House Deputy Press Secretary Hogan Gidley cited border security issues for the need to order in: “Much of the residence staff at the White House is furloughed—so the President is personally paying for the event to be catered with some of everyone’s favorite fast foods.”
Back to the State Dining room, and the president ignored the fast food feast for a brief moment in order to address the real reason for the football team’s visit. “Through your grit, determination and teamwork you finished the season with a 15–0 record,” he said. “But your biggest win of all was a stunning 38–24 victory over the Eastern Washington Eagles … supposed to be a very good team.” He added, whispering genially to players on the side of the podium: “Were they good?”
To Easton Stick, the player who broke the Bison’s all-time touchdown passing record, the president had a personal message: “You’re the real deal, I tell you. Somebody better draft him!”
The team and sports representatives, with spirits high, tucked in to the generous feast courtesy of President Trump, and it seems the president’s suspicion that fast food would go down well was right on the money. Not to mention the president is a huge personal fan of the California native fast food enterprise: “We like American companies, OK?” he declared.
“Go and eat up,” the president instructed. He didn’t have to tell the Bisons twice. Suspecting, however, that it would cause “too big a stir” to munch on a chicken sandwich with snap-happy reporters present, President Trump decided to save his own lunchtime feast for later.
A star-struck Matt Lien, the assistant director of Athletics/Development at NDSU, posted an enthusiastic response to the team’s White House experience: “Unreal experience visiting the White House, meeting a sitting President, seeing the Oval Office, touring the Capitol building and seeing the sights of DC! Blessed to be a part of @NDSUathletics,” he wrote.
The team arrives on Capitol Hill for our luncheon and a Capitol tour.
They say a picture is worth a thousand words, and the same could be said for an excellent sandwich, but the president used his words to express gratitude for the sterling efforts of the North Dakota team, nonetheless: “Every time this Bison team took to the field you gave it your all,” he praised.
“When you play with passion, love, and you really love your team … and relentlessly reach for excellence, nothing is impossible.”
How would you like to chow down on a fast food feast at the White House? Tell us your favorite fast food, or your best American sporting moment, in the comments below!