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A story that said the White House executive chef has quit over President Donald Trump’s preference for drive-thru delicacies was actually served up by a St. Louis-based parody news site.
"White House chef quits because Trump has only eaten fast food for 6 months," read the headline on a July 6, 2017, article on HalfwayPost.com.
The post said that White House chef Lisa Mead hasn’t cooked a single meal since Trump took office, instead being forced to "retrieve Trump’s orders from drive-through windows and scoop the President’s ice cream from the carton."
Sources in the story described particular preparation methods Trump favored for his food, which people quoted in the story found difficult to stomach. The post described Trump eating only the skin and fat from Kentucky Fried Chicken and making Mead remove all the brown M&M’s from a McDonald’s McFlurry.
While Trump has been known to favor Col. Sanders at times, this story is ersatz news dressed up as a true story.
As an appetizer, we should note that the White House executive chef is Cristeta Comerford, not anyone named Lisa Mead. The First Lady’s office confirmed Comerford still runs the kitchen, a job she has held since 2005. (There is a mention of the factual recent resignation of Office of Government Ethics director Walter Shaub Jr.)
But the real meat of this claim is that HalfwayPost.com identifies itself as being full of contrived stories.
The page header denotes the site as "a St. Louis gazette of satirical, halfway real news." It’s "About the Halfway Post" page said the staff is "prone to satirical giggles, so if a headline seems too outlandish to be true it’s probably because we made it up."
We attempted to contact the site through their online contact form, but did not receive a reply.
Trump’s culinary preferences have been a topic in the media before.
He’s shown a fondness for taco bowls and had promised during his presidential campaign to feed Chinese President Xi Jinping "a double-size Big Mac" if he were to visit the White House. Trump opted instead to offer a more traditional steak and fish during Xi’s trip to the United States in April, but that was at Mar-a-Lago in Palm Beach, Fla.
But in this case, people who don’t notice HalfwayPost.com’s warnings that its content is all empty calories may be left with a sour taste.
We rate this claim Pants On Fire!
HalfwayPost.com, "White House Chef Quits Because Trump Has Only Eaten Fast Food For 6 Months," July 6, 2017
International Business Times, "Who Is The White House Chef? What you Need To Know About The Woman Who Cooks The President's Food," Jan. 21, 2017
New York Times, "Looking for a Trump Doctrine in the White House Kitchen," Feb. 27, 2017
CNN, "Trump hosts Xi Jinping: No Big Macs on the menu," April 6, 2017
The Hill, "Trump: Give Chinese president Big Mac instead of state dinner," Aug. 25, 2015
NPR, "Ethics Office Director Walter Shaub Resigns, Saying Rules Need To Be Tougher," July 6, 2017
Interview with Stephanie Grisham, First Lady’s office spokeswoman, July 17, 2017
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