WASHINGTON (AP) - President Donald Trump paid tribute to college football champion Clemson for winning the national championship at a White House ceremony Monday evening.
Trump said he even paid for their meal of "American fast food" because of the partial government shutdown. He did not disclose the tab.
"We went off and we ordered American fast food, paid for by me. Lots of hamburgers, lots of pizza," Trump said after returning to the White House from a trip to New Orleans. "I think they'd like it better than anything we could give."
"We have some very large people that like eating, so I think we're going to have a little fun," said the president, a fast food-lover himself.
Spokeswoman Sarah Huckabee Sanders said much of the staff that works in the White House residence has been furloughed due to the shutdown, "so the president is personally paying for the event to be catered with some of everyone's favorite fast foods."
An impressive — and highly unusual for the White House — smorgasbord greeted the players in the East Room. Silver trays held stacks of wrapped burgers from Wendy's and boxed burgers from McDonald's, including Big Macs. White House paper cups bearing the presidential seal held the fries.
Pizzas, some topped with olives and tomatoes, also were on the menu. Silver bowls held the condiments and stacks of white china plates sat nearby.
The Clemson team's visit is its second since Trump took office. The Tigers last visited 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 calls 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.