(Bloomberg) -- The steaks and other perishable food from the White House’s canceled congressional picnic have been donated to Walter Reed National Military Medical Center, a spokeswoman said Friday.
President Donald Trump said Wednesday he would nix the picnic, scheduled for Thursday, to focus on the immigration debate.
“I said, ‘You know, it doesn’t feel right to have a picnic for Congress when we’re working on doing something very important,’” Trump said shortly before signing an executive order meant to address the outcry over migrant children detained on the southern border being separated from their families.
“Because we’re all so busy, and I just mentioned to the congressmen and senators in the room that we are going to cancel and postpone tomorrow’s congressional picnic,” he said.
But on Friday he abandoned course, saying in a tweet that it’s a waste of time for Congress to work on immigration legislation before the midterm elections. “Elect more Republicans in November and we will pass the finest, fairest and most comprehensive Immigration Bills anywhere in the world,” he said.
White House cooks had already started preparing large steaks on outdoor grills Wednesday when Trump canceled the annual event. Members of Congress, Trump administration officials and their families were invited.
"All perishables donated to Walter Reed. Non perishables to be repurposed for future events," said Stephanie Grisham, a spokeswoman for First Lady Melania Trump.
The food was to be delivered Friday morning to the United Service Organizations in Bethesda, which planned to treat Walter Reed hospital faculty and staff, a spokeswoman said. USO is a nonprofit that supports military members. The White House didn’t answer questions about how much food was donated.
A USO spokeswoman, Michelle Shortencarrier, said the food would be served at lunch Friday at the hospital and would be available to patients and their families as well as employees. The spread includes rib-eye steaks, spinach, cole slaw, quinoa, black beans and pies, she said.
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