DENNARD: Trump Scored A Touchdown With Clemson Tigers At The White House

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Paris Dennard Contributor
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At a campaign stop in Pittsburg, Donald Trump Jr. said of his father, “I’ve always called him the blue-collar billionaire, because that’s what he is. He is able to talk to those people. He’s not talking at them. He’s talking with them.”

It seems like an oxymoron, but that is exactly who President Trump is. He has always been able to connect with people from all walks of life. It’s also why he paid out of his own pocket to host the Clemson Tigers at the White House on Monday night.

As a non-politician, politician Trump did not spend most of his adult years working rope lines, kissing babies, going to county fairs and eating fried everything, and doing all the customary retail politics type experiences most politicians have to do. Trump had another type of connection — on construction sites working with his team of welders, carpenters, electricians, plumbers, painters and construction workers.

In real estate, it was tenants and managers and families.

As a candidate, he was able to take those experiences, coupled with his media-savvy intuition on direct messaging and communication to win over people in places where Republicans have traditionally not done as well on a presidential level.

How could this New York billionaire real estate businessman win over everyday people in West Virginia, Ohio, and Pennsylvania? Because he understands everyday people.

So when the 2018 National Champion Clemson Tigers scheduled Monday evening’s visit to the White House, they had no idea it would be in the middle of the longest partial government shutdown in history. President Trump could have canceled the event for the team and the hundreds of D.C.-South Carolinians who wanted to celebrate with their team. Instead, he allowed the show to go on. And what a show it was!

The Tigers walked in the People’s House to the Marine Band playing Michael Jackson’s hit song “Billie Jean.” The main event would take place in the East Room, but the reception was held in the State Dining Room. Beautiful buffet tables were in place in the middle of the room. Candles were lit, and there was a vast assortment of food. It was a college football player’s dream: It included all the McDonald’s, Wendy’s, Burger King and Dominos you could eat, complete with salad and fries.

Normally, the spread of food for a reception like this would have consisted of heavy hors d’oeuvres made by the White House chefs and served by the White House butlers. Because of the partial government shutdown, President Trump stepped in to ensure that there would still be food at the event for the team.

According to the White House Press Secretary, “The president wanted to host a fun event to celebrate the College Football National Champion Clemson Tigers. 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 favorite fast foods.”

Flying in the comforts of his own personal private plane, candidate Trump was frequently eating fast food like McDonald’s and KFC. Simple, comfort foods that taste good and aren’t too expensive for the person on the go. According to a recent report by the Center for Disease Control, almost 40% of Americans eat some form of fast food every day.  While many elite people talk about their expensive and high-end food fads of the month to stay slim, super healthy and in shape for most Americans, eating at casual dining restaurants and fast food is a way of life.

During a press preview of the fast food, Trump said he was serving“great American food” for the team. When the press pool reporter asked him which restaurant chain on display was his favorite, he responded, “If it’s American I like it. It’s all American stuff.” Trump’s answers are always instinctive. It’s who Trump is at his core. That level of authenticity and self-confidence helped endear him to average voters — the forgotten people he speaks so much about.

The president made the best of the situation — on his own dime — and lightened the mood for a team that worked hard to become national champions and have the kind of classic American food you’d find in the hands of Friday-night football fans across the heartland.

President Trump scored a political touchdown on Monday knowing there is nothing more American than football and fast food.

Paris Dennard (@ParisDennard) is a member of President Trump’s Commission on White House Fellows. He worked previously as director of black outreach in the George W. Bush White House.

The views and opinions expressed in this commentary are those of the author and do not reflect the official position of The Daily Caller.