President Trump's Love Affair with Fast Food: A Brief (and Salty) History

According to two former staffers, among Trump's dinner orders was this: "two Big Macs, two Fillet-O-Fish and a chocolate malted"

Clemson Tigers celebrate their Championship at the White House, Washington, USA - 14 Jan 2019
President Donald Trump. Photo: CHRIS KLEPONIS/POOL/EPA-EFE/REX/Shutterstock

President Donald Trump‘s diet of fast food is — like Trump himself — populist, cheap and maybe too salty for most people’s taste.

Since his 2016 election, there has been plenty of evidence that Trump loves meals à la McDonald’s and Burger King. Pizza, burgers, Diet Coke and fried foods are reoccurring themes in his interviews, social media posts and the memoirs of former staffers, who argue there are both personal and political reasons behind Trump’s food choices.

During a CNN town hall in February 2016, while he was still campaigning, then-candidate Trump told Anderson Cooper that his favorite McDonald’s meal was the fish sandwich (also known as the “Fish Delight”).

Addressing fast food in general, Trump told Cooper: “I’m a very clean person. I like cleanliness. And I think you’re better off going there than someplace that you maybe have no idea where the food is coming from. It’s a certain standard. But I think the food is good.”

Ex-aides David Bossie and Corey Lewandowski, who worked as Trump’s campaign manager, expounded on his eating habits with their book, Let Trump Be Trump.

In it they describe Trump’s boundless cravings for fast food, including one McDonald’s dinner order of “two Big Macs, two Fillet-O-Fish and a chocolate malted” (which clocks in at 2,530 calories with 114g of fat and 3530mg of sodium).

“On Trump Force One there were four major food groups: McDonald’s, Kentucky Fried Chicken, pizza and Diet Coke,” according to Bossie and Lewandowski.

They wrote that the cupboards on Trump’s plane were also stocked with Vienna Fingers, potato chips, pretzels and many packages of Oreos because Trump, a well-known germaphobe, did not eat from previously opened packages.

Bossie and Lewandowski wrote that “the orchestrating and timing of Mr. Trump’s meals was as important as any other aspect of his march to the presidency.”

Lewandowski even remarked during the campaign, according to a reporter present, that the one thing staffers could not screw up was Trump’s lunch order.

United States President Donald J. Trump presents fast food to be served to the Clemson Tigers during White House visit, Washington, USA - 14 Jan 2019
President Donald Trump showing off the spread of fast food brought to the White House for the championship Clemson University football team earlier this year, during the government shutdown. Chris Kleponis/POOL/EPA-EFE/REX/Shutterstock

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To go along with his salt-filled orders, multiple reports show that the president has a longstanding love of Diet Coke — and a lot of it. Specifically, Trump is known to drink a dozen a day, according to the New York Times. He can order them using a red button on his desk in the Oval Office.

In August 2016, Trump’s love for fast food was on full display when he posted a photo of himself eating KFC chicken while on the campaign trail.

Some pundits argue that Trump’s eating habits are not only a personal preference — they’re a means to connect to his blue-collar voters, according to the Times.

“There’s nothing more American and more of-the-people than fast food,” Russ Schriefer, a Republican strategist and ad maker, told the paper.

Schriefer continued: “It is the peculiarity of the brand that he’s able to be on his multimillion-dollar jet with the gold and black branding and colors, and at the same time eat KFC — and what makes it perfect is he does it all with a knife and fork, while reading The Wall Street Journal.”

More recently, the president struck upon the unusual solution of serving fast food in the White House during a January celebration while the government was shutdown.

He personally bought the Clemson University football team a McDonald’s feast during their visit to commemorate the team’s national championship win.

“Because of the shutdown, you know we have the great Clemson team with us, the national champions. So we went out and we ordered American fast food, paid for by me,” Trump said then, CNN reported. “Lots of hamburgers, lots of pizza. … We have some very large people that like eating. So I think we’re going to have a little fun.”

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