Trump's Food Choices Grow More Disconcerting

A new memoir implicates the Filet-O-Fish in a 2,400-calorie dinner.

A sign advertising a McDonald's Filet-O-Fish sandwich (Mike Blake / Reuters)

“Trump’s appetite seems to know no bounds when it comes to McDonald’s, with a dinner order consisting of two Big Macs, two Filet-O-Fish, and a chocolate malted.”

This 2,400-calorie meal is among the details in a forthcoming book by Trump’s former campaign manager Corey Lewandowski and aid David Bossie, as described in a preview by The Washington Post.

A dinner of that size would offer caloric energy for a full day. The 3,400 milligrams of sodium more than doubles the American Heart Association’s recommendation of 1,500 milligrams per day. The meal provides almost no fiber—and also offers more white bread than anyone would do well to eat in a week. This is all ominous for the president’s cardiovascular system.

So is the lack of variety. The book’s authors, who traveled with Trump early in his presidency, write: “On Trump Force One there were four major food groups: McDonald’s, Kentucky Fried Chicken, pizza, and Diet Coke.”

Keeping the Coke sugar-free is an interesting line to draw—especially as a man who once said, “I have never seen a thin person drinking Diet Coke.”

The food enters the President not only in abundance, but with haste. Ivanka Trump said in a 2015 interview with Barbara Walters, “I wish he would eat healthier and maybe slow down. Sometimes I tell him, like, ‘Oh, you have to, you know, slow down.’ But it’s the only speed he knows ...”

All of this could be taken as simple evidence of Trump’s cultural vacuousness. He should know other speeds; he has dined with other people. He should enjoy a wide array of foods; he has been afforded the opportunity to have anything he wants.

If there’s other insight to be had in gawking at these food habits—and I can’t promise that there is—it may be related to the fact that Trump is at the earliest end of the Baby Boomers. He came up in a time when packaged food was the height of civilization. Uniformity and predictability in a burger or a fish sandwich was a virtue, not an eerie flaw.

The Post describes the plane’s cupboards as being “stacked with Vienna Fingers, potato chips, pretzels, and many packages of Oreos” because the president is a “renowned germophobe” who declines to eat from a previously opened package. This may also be the rationale for eating his steaks well-done.

There may be something to the fact of caring obsessively about contamination while caring not at all about nutrition. For a person whose primary concern is food being isolated from the world, hyper-processed sugar cookies are less of a threat to the self than would be a salad or an apple. Oreos are a paradigm of diabetes- and obesity-inducing foods, and these conditions drive the country’s leading cause of death.

There is no question that this diet is dangerous and is very likely to shorten a person’s life. His dietary pattern adds to the picture of a 70-year-old man who has long been living against all health advice—who does not exercise, who barely sleeps, who has tumultuous relationships, who is frequently enraged. His lifestyle seems pulled from a question on a medical-school exam where the answer is “prepare the cath lab.”

Decisions to live this way would seem to offer insight into Trump’s ability to assess risk. In light of a nuclear standoff with North Korea, rapidly warming oceans, and a looming tax bill that would leave millions more Americans without health insurance, his approach to self-maintenance is not reassuring.