President-elect Donald Trump on Tuesday named Ronald McDonald his Secretary of Housing and Urban Development. Trump cited McDonald’s establishment and operation of the Ronald McDonald House as the reason for his surprise selection as the head of the national housing department.
“Ronald McDonald has been doing great things with housing for decades. Ronald McDonald Houses. Fantastic places,” Trump said. “Ronald and I are both builders and providers of housing. So it’s obvious to me, as it should be to the rest of America, we can feel safe knowing Ron will be guiding our national housing initiatives for the next one to three years.”
The two men appeared together on the steps of Trump’s Mar-a-Lago estate in Palm Beach, Fla. Trump shouted his comments for the benefit of journalists who were kept 50 feet back from the main entrance. McDonald did not speak, but flashed his trademarked smile and waved a yellow-gloved hand as the announcement was made.
McDonald founded his eponymous houses in 1974 to provide lodging for seriously ill children and their families while the children are treated at nearby hospitals. The Ronald McDonald House Charities now has facilities and associated programs in 63 countries and regions around the world and served more than 7 million families in 2015 alone.
The president-elect lauded his new cabinet member’s work providing temporary housing to people from all walks of life in small towns and large cities alike.
“I’ve visited one myself. The Ronald McDonald House on East 73rd Street in Manhattan. Wonderful place,” Trump said. “And there’s one right here in Palm Beach. We passed it on the way back from the airport. And Melania says her people told her there’s one in Boca.”
Trump continued, “There are even Ronald McDonald Houses in the inner cities where my wonderful African-Americans are, where their apartments are falling apart, their schools are horrible. I have people who have gone to those Mickey D’s. Tremendous people, by the way. The best.”
An aide whispered in his ear before the president-elect added, “Yes, I believe Ronald is going to do some urban development things for the inner cities, too. We’re going to talk about that, bigly.”
In addition to housing for sick children and their relatives, Trump also praised the expansive McDonald’s chain of fast food establishments, which he said will serve as an excellent platform to help provide for the nation’s dietary and lifestyle needs in conjunction with the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, the Department of Labor, and the International Brotherhood of Teamsters.
“Ronald and I are already talking about building more housing units, but also more restaurants in or near those facilities,” the president-elect explained. “It will be just like the great culinary choices available inside Trump Tower and Trump International Hotel, including Trump Grill and Jean-Georges. Except they’ll be McDonald’s.”
Trump said this “merger” of his administration and McDonald as the new housing secretary will continue his “huge, unbelievable plan” to promote American values.
“Ronald’s houses, and his food, continue to make America great, again, with his focus on the traditions of the United States, especially those that celebrate regional and holiday specialties,” Trump said. “McLobster for the people north of New York. The Jalepeno Double for those entering from Mexico, legally, to enjoy on Cinco de Mayo. The Arctic Orange Shake, for our great friend Sarah Palin and her neighbors in Alaska. The Baked Pumpkin Pie for Thanksgiving and Holiday Mint McFlurry for real Americans who celebrate real American holidays, like Christmas.”
“And have you had the Shamrock Shake? It’s delicious,” Trump said. “A great testament to Irish-Americans. Trust me.”
Following the announcement, Trump and McDonald took in a round of golf on the Mar-a-Lago course.
Trump wore traditional fairway attire of a dark shirt, patterned sweater vest and gray pants from his own clothing line. His newest cabinet pick donned the traditional yellow-and-red coveralls and red-and-white striped stockings of the McDonald Clan, as well as oversized, red golf spikes.
Reporters were kept behind a rope line 50 feet from the edge of the 13th Hole, traditionally a spot for short approach shots.
Trump aides on the other side of the line distributed Mar-a-Lago golf balls, as well as press releases announcing Donald Trump Clothing has attained exclusive rights to market McDonald’s Golf Apparel in what will become a joint sales enterprise between the fast food giant and Trump Golf, part of the Trump Organization, under the guidance of Trump’s eldest daughter, Ivanka Trump.
President-elect Trump will have no personal connection with the business venture, according to the release, which was printed on White House stationery.
(November 30, 2016)