A report on the inner workings of BLT Prime, the steakhouse inside the Trump International Hotel in Washington, D.C., has revealed the extensive serving procedure for former president Donald Trump’s Diet Cokes — as well as several other demanding tendencies of Trump’s inner circle.
The report was published by Washingtonian magazine, which obtained a “Standard Operating Procedure” document used by former BLT Prime staffers.
According to the document, servers had to follow a series of steps every time Trump ordered a Diet Coke. These included presenting him with a bottle of hand sanitizer, asking Trump if he wanted the soda with or without ice, providing glasses and chilled bottles in advance of his reply, holding both the bottle opener and the Diet Coke by their lower thirds while presenting them, opening the bottle in front of Trump — “never beforehand” — and gingerly placing the beverage on Trump’s right-hand side.
Trump’s dining procedure was similarly complex, even though the president always ate the same dishes: a shrimp cocktail, a well-done steak, fries, and occasionally apple pie or chocolate cake. Popovers accompanying the steak had to be served within two minutes, and servers had to open multiple bottles of Heinz ketchup in front of the then-president, making sure he could hear each bottle make a “pop.”
“Trump himself never returned a plate, but if he was disappointed, you can bet the complaint would travel down the ranks,” the Washingtonian story said. “Like the time the President questioned why his dining companion had a bigger steak.”
The report also revealed that trays of junk food, ranging from Snickers bars to gummy bears to Tootsie Rolls, were prepared for Trump each time he came by the restaurant.
Other members of Trump’s inner circle were also high maintenance. These included Hope Hicks, the White House’s former director of strategic communications, who once criticized staff for taking too long with her meal and received an apology from the manager and a “dessert storm” to make up for the delayed service.
Tiffany Trump, who sometimes brunched at the restaurant with her friends from Georgetown Law, was often a no-show for reservations, and one former staffer describing her cancellations as a “pain.”
Most trying of all, however, was Rudy Giuliani, who would often demand a table for 10 without prior notice and seemed to treat the restaurant like an office. Former executive chef Bill Williamson said that he was always “doing more paperwork there than eating,” and eventually staffers created a plaque that read “RUDOLPH W. GIULIANI PRIVATE OFFICE” and placed it on the former New York mayor’s table prior to his arrival.
Trump’s love of Diet Cokes extended beyond BLT Prime and into the Oval Office itself. The former president reportedly drank a dozen a day, and had a red button on his desk that he used to special order the sodas.
The button was removed after president Joe Biden entered office.
Read the full report here, courtesy of the Washingtonian.