As one of the most recognisable and historically significant buildings in the country, it’s hardly surprising that tradition is a big deal in the White House. Whether it’s creating a new Christmas theme or pardoning a lucky turkey, there are some things that are just expected of a First Family. However, if the current administration has proved anything, it’s that tradition isn’t set in stone.
President Trump and co have already forged a reputation for the unorthodox that extends far beyond the walls of the White House. But, while his attitude to the presidential residence may not be the most significant aspect of his premiership, it may just be one of the most illuminating. Already, the Trumps have set new precedents over where they spend their time and how they get from A to B, but it is with catering that they are most obviously tearing up the traditional rule book. Once upon a time, White House guests might have expected a formal audience, a black tie dinner, or at least something cooked on the premises. Trump sees things differently.
In what is fast becoming the latest arbitrary White House ritual, Trump welcomed yet another champion athletics team to his home with an enormous fast food feast. On Monday, the president hosted the Baylor women's basketball team, who in the process became the first women's championship team to be honoured individually at the Trump White House. Their reward was a nutritionally questionable spread of Chick-Fil-A, Burger King, Wendy’s and McDonald’s.
Anyone who’s been keeping abreast of edible developments in the current regime will know that this isn’t the first time that guests have been treated to a deep fried buffet. Championship winning football team the Clemson Tigers were the first to receive the dubious honour in January, while the North Dakota State Bison enjoyed the same treatment in March. Clearly a pattern is emerging.
Prior to the event, the Trump administration had come under scrutiny for not hosting a single women’s team for their own unique presidential reception, as opposed to their male counterparts. While women’s teams had been invited to attend an audience with the president before Monday, The Lady Bears’ dinner was the first time that the courtesy had been extended to a team solely consisting of female athletes.
For more conservative presidential commentators, the idea of a White House catering with fast food is anathema to everything that the office is supposed to stand for. However, if you look at the long list of silly things that presidents are supposed to do, you’d be hard pressed to argue that providing fast food is any less ridiculous or disrespectful than at least a dozen other activities. Who’s to say that Donald Trump’s most significant lasting impact on the presidency won’t end up being what celebrated sports stars get served for dinner?