Reggie Bush after President Trump celebrates Clemson with fast food: ‘Huge slap in the face’
In honor of winning the 2018 college football championship, the Clemson Tigers were treated to a fast food catered White House visit by President Donald Trump on Jan. 14. USA TODAY
Former NFL running back and college star Reggie Bush called President Donald Trump’s gesture of serving the national champion Clemson Tigers fast food during their White House visit on Monday “disrespectful on so many levels” and a “huge slap in the face.”
Trump provided the Clemson players and staff a buffet that included Wendy’s, Burger King and McDonald’s during their championship celebration at the White House and the Tuesday morning tweeted that they were “great players and big eaters.”
The Tigers beat Alabama last week for their second national title in three years.
Bush tweeted Tuesday morning: “Just when you think you’ve seen it all, @ClemsonFB you guys deserve better you are world champs and this is the honor you receive from our nations leader!? This is disrespectful on so many levels, just a huge slap in the face after that kind of performance! SMH!”
Reggie Bush and the 2003 national champion Trojans visited the White House during George W. Bush’s presidency.
Bush won the 2005 Heisman Trophy as a standout running back for Southern California, but later forfeited the award due to allegations that he received improper benefits. Those allegations eventually led USC to be dealt a two-year-postseason ban by the NCAA and the program’s national championship in 2004 being vacated.
In the midst of the longest partial government shutdown in U.S. history, Trump welcomed coach Dabo Swinney, quarterback Trevor Lawrence and 75 other Tigers players.
Press secretary Sarah Sanders said in a statement that Trump covered the cost of the food because “the Democrats refuse to negotiate on border security” and “much of the residence staff at the White House is furloughed.”
Trump alluded to that Tuesday in a tweet.
Contributing: Tom Schad
When the Clemson football players entered the White House’s opulent State Dining Room during their visit with President Trump on Monday, they were greeted by a sight many had likely never laid eyes on before.
In the center of the historic room that has hosted royalty, foreign dignitaries and celebrities, a long mahogany table gleamed under the glow of an enormous golden chandelier. A pair of ornate candelabras holding tapered white candles sat on the table amid numerous silver serving platters piled high with what Trump described as “Great American food.”
Boxes of McDonald’s Quarter Pounders, Big Macs and Filet-O-Fish sandwiches were stacked in neat rows next to pyramids of packaged salads. The Wendy’s girl and her wholesome grin decorated mounds of wraps. Silver gravy boats overflowed with packets of dipping sauce for Chicken McNuggets. On a separate table, Domino’s pizzas and french fries repackaged in cups bearing the presidential seal basked under what appeared to be heat lamps.
“I thought it was a joke,” one Clemson player could be overheard saying in a video shared on Twitter, accurately capturing many people’s reaction to the president’s earlier promise to serve college football’s national champions items found on various dollar menus. Only the meal was very real, and late-night hosts and the Internet had a lot to say about it.
“I think we are going to serve McDonald’s, Wendy’s and Burger King’s with some pizza. I really mean it,” Trump said outside the White House earlier in the day. “It will be interesting. I would think that’s their favorite food.”
“What would possibly make you think that?” he asked incredulously. “I’ll tell you what made him think that. … He’s paying the check, so he had to get the cheapest food they could find.” (White House press secretary Sarah Sanders said the president would be footing the bill because the ongoing partial government shutdown meant those who may have handled the event’s catering were furloughed, The Washington Post’s Josh Dawsey reported.)
The host continued, quipping, “And you know he’s taking whatever they don’t eat back to his bedroom. He’ll be like the rat in ‘Charlotte’s Web’ tonight rolling around in Quarter Pounders with cheese.”
Meanwhile, Stephen Colbert and Seth Meyers mocked the president for hosting a meal that appeared to cater less to the tastes of his guests and more to his own well-documentedpreferences.
He then slipped into his well-practiced Trump impersonation to describe an alternate version of Monday’s White House visit.
“We’re going to eat all of their favorite foods — burgers, KFC, taco bowls, two scoops of ice cream,” Colbert said in his Trump voice. “We’re going to watch their favorite movie, the 2016 election results. Then, I will spank them all with a rolled-up Forbes. I hear they’re really into that.”
On NBC, Meyers was equally quick to call out the president.
“He thinks he’s being so sly, ‘Normally, I would have a salad for dinner on Monday, but they told me they only eat every fast food!’ ” the host said, impersonating Trump.
For several people, the pictures of Trump’s offerings were familiar.
“I mean you’re not just gonna NOT eat the Big Macs stacked in a pile right?” tweeted Clemson offensive lineman Matt Bockhorst, who had been caught on camera smiling impishly as he loaded his plate with two Big Macs, which keen social media users quickly turned into a meme.
And for Bockhorst, the feasting didn’t end at the White House.
“Pocketed two chicken wraps and a quarter pounder,” he wrote in another tweet.