US President Donald Trump serves football team McDonald's burgers at White House

An American football team visiting the White House has been served McDonald's burgers because all the cooking staff is on leave for the government shutdown.

US President Donald Trump invited college football champions the Clemson Tigers for a celebratory dinner on Monday (local time) after the team won their national championship.

White House guests can usually expect fine dining, but these players were served a rather different spread: burgers, fries and pizza from McDonald's, Burger King and Domino's.

Media were present at the dinner, and video shows the President standing behind a table crammed with fast food. Guests walked into the room while Michael Jackson's 'Billie Jean' played on the speakers, and several players reportedly whooped with joy when they saw the feast.

A White House statement said President Trump "wanted to host a fun event" for the team despite the federal government shutdown, which is now in its fourth week.

"Because the Democrats refuse to negotiate on border security, much of the residence staff at the White House is furloughed - so the President is personally paying for the event to be catered with some of everyone's favourite fast foods."

Speaking to media after the meal, President Trump confirmed he had paid for dinner out of his own pocket.

"We went off and we ordered American fast food, paid for by me. Lots of hamburgers, lots of pizza. I think they'd like it better than anything we could give."

The 72-year-old is a known fan of fast food himself, often seen tucking into KFC.

The move has been ridiculed by many on social media who say it was a bizarre choice for dinner guests at the White House.

"If you went to a wedding or a fancy event and were served cold burgers you'd probably think the host was a cheap bastard," one Twitter user said.

"Would've been nice if he flew his [Mar-a-lago] staff up to cook these highly trained, high performing athletes a hot, healthy, first class meal," said another.

The current government shutdown was triggered by the two parties' inability to reach an agreement over the President's proposed wall along the US-Mexico border.

It's now the longest shutdown in the country's history, with thousands of government employees forced to work with no guarantee they'll be paid. Others, including kitchen staff at the White House, have been granted furlough - a temporary leave of absence.

On Saturday (local time) President Trump tweeted the government would be "out for a long time unless the Democrats come back from their 'vacations' and get back to work".


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