Government shutdown leaves White House guests dining on take away burgers

Anyone invited to dine with the US president at the White House might expect to be treated to an evening of culinary brilliance.

After all, the White House kitchen has five full-time chefs and can serve dinner to as many as 140 guests and hors d’oeuvres to more than 1,000.

The Clemson Tigers from South Carolina might understandably have expected some top-class cuisine. They had just won the College Football Playoff National Championship, after all.

But as the government shutdown enters its 24th day, around 800,000 federal workers are on mandatory leave or working without pay.

Among those affected are the White House chefs.

With members of the football team due to visit for dinner, Donald Trump needed to save the day somehow.

So he thought about the type of “all American” feast footballers would enjoy and came up with…McDonald’s, Wendy’s and pizza.

Burgers were piled high on the elaborate silver trays, various sauces were housed in the silver holders and White House cups bearing the presidential seal held the fries.

Before the meal, the president told reporters: “Because of the shutdown, as you know… we went out and we ordered American fast food paid for by me.”

“I think they’d like it better than anything we could give.

“We have pizzas, we have 300 hamburgers, many, many French fries, all of our favourite foods – I want to see what’s here when we leave, because I don’t think it’s going to be much,” the president mused.

“We want to make sure that everything is right, so we sent out, we got this.”

Mr Trump is well-known to be a fan of fast food, reportedly enjoying cheeseburgers in bed, but when asked which was his favourite, he was remaining neutral: “I like them all,” he said.

“If it’s American, I like it. It’s all American stuff.”

Spokeswoman Sarah Huckabee Sanders confirmed much of the staff in the White House residence had been furloughed because of the shutdown “so the president is personally paying for the event to be catered with some of everyone’s favourite fast foods”.

The unorthodox choice appeared to go down well with the team, however, with several young men seen chomping their way through multiple burgers.