Let Trump eat what he wants

This editorial appeared in the Lebanon Valley News, New Hampshire.

Some local media critics might wonder if we will ever come to the defense of President Donald Trump on any issue. Well, here it is: Trump’s diet is his own business. If he enjoys steak with ketchup, we will not wag a finger at him. And have seconds if you please, Mr. President.

Recently critics, from food pages and elsewhere, have heaped full servings of scorn on reports that Trump indulged in steak and ketchup at a recent dinner at his Washington hotel. Washington Post food critic Tom Sietsema mocked the leader of the free world, saying he had ordered steak in his usual manner, “well done and with ketchup, as if the entree would be accompanied by a sippy cup.” Sietsema called for “a moment of silence for the cow, the condiment and what most chefs would call a forced marriage.”

Is it right, in a free society, for foodies to monitor the president’s plate like a disapproving waiter? No, we say, let him eat steak, along with the meatloaf that he famously praised to Gov. Chris Christie, then bullied him, according to Trump’s harshest critics, into ordering some.

Trump isn’t the first president to have his gastronomic sophistication examined in the court of public opinion, although Twitter and other forms of social media have brought the inquisition to a boil. President George W. Bush was said to favor nachos and peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. President Bill Clinton’s tastes ran to Big Macs — it should be acknowledged that he later developed heart trouble and has since become a vegan. Trump might do well to take notice.

All Americans, even a president, should be entitled to guilty pleasures, so hold the shaming. Everyone deserves a break now and then.

One’s food choices are, or should be, wholly a matter of personal choice. Even if Trump were to wash down his steak with chocolate milk — domestic, not imported — we’d say more power to him. Actually, scratch that; we have no taste for an expansion of executive authority at this moment in history.


The editorial board is composed of the publisher and four journalists of varied editing and reporting backgrounds. The board's discussions and information gained from its meetings with political, civic, and business leaders drive the institutional voice of The Day, as expressed in its editorials. The editorial department operates separately from the newsroom.


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