WASHINGTON — Exactly one week after beating Alabama to win their second national championship in three years, the Clemson Tigers traveled to the White House on Monday for a celebration hosted by President Donald Trump.
And they were greeted with a buffet of fast food.
In the midst of the longest partial government shutdown in U.S. history, Trump welcomed coach Dabo Swinney, quarterback Trevor Lawrence and the rest of the group with stacks of burgers from McDonald’s and Wendy’s, among other assorted fast food. Then they all gathered in the East Room as Trump praised Clemson’s 44-16 win over the Crimson Tide.
After landing on Marine One, Trump told reporters that he paid for the food personally and believed the athletes would enjoy it because they have some “very large people that like eating.”
WATCH: Live stream of Clemson’s visit with President Trump at White House
It was the Tigers’ second trip to the White House in less than two years, making Clemson the only repeat visitor among championship sports teams since Trump took office.
The celebration also came just seven days after the national title game — an unusually quick turnaround for a team’s White House visit.
Clemson previously met with Trump in the summer of 2017, roughly five months after its previous title-game victory that completed the 2016 season.
Trump announced the visit in a tweet Friday, and expressed excitement about the event Monday morning before flying to New Orleans to address the American Farm Bureau Federation’s convention. He called Clemson a “great team, an unbelievable team” and eagerly unveiled the menu for his guests.
White House visits have long been a tradition for championship teams and athletes, but they have become increasingly sporadic under Trump.
None of the four NCAA men’s and women’s basketball champions have visited the White House under Trump, nor have the two-time NBA champion Golden State Warriors. The most recent NFL champions, the Philadelphia Eagles, were initially invited to visit last summer before Trump learned that they would not be sending a large delegation and rescinded the invitation.
Contact Tom Schad at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @Tom_Schad.