Fact Check

Was Trump Turned Away from a Kansas City BBQ Restaurant?

Three inside jokes do not make a truth.

Published Feb. 3, 2020

 (White House Press Pool / Tamara Keith)
Image courtesy of White House Press Pool / Tamara Keith
Article 2 of 4 in Collection
U.S. President Donald Trump tweeted about being turned away by Arthur Bryant's barbecue restaurant in Kansas City.

A February 2020 tweet posted to the account of U.S. President Donald Trump in which he truly congratulated the wrong state (i.e., Kansas rather than Missouri) for the Kansas City Chiefs' Super Bowl win drew attention to another purported Trump tweet that appeared online in mid-2018. The latter complained that the president had been turned away by Arthur Bryant's, a famous Kansas City barbecue restaurant:

Trump had indeed been in Kansas City, Missouri, at that time to deliver a speech at the Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW) convention and to attend a fundraiser for Republican U.S. Senate candidate Josh Hawley, but the notion that Trump went out looking for barbecue and ended up getting turned away by Arthur Bryant's was a false one, as the restaurant confirmed:

The Trump tweet about Arthur Bryant's was a fabricated one that never actually appeared in the timeline of Trump's tweets. It incorporated several satirical in-jokes and references that might not be obvious to everyone reading it today:

  • The faux tweet followed on the heels of a widely publicized incident in which then-White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders had been turned away by the Red Hen restaurant in Lexington, Virginia:https://twitter.com/brennanmgilmore/status/1010406219243311105
  • The reference to ketchup played on both Trump's predilection for dining on well-done steak with ketchup and an attempt by Fox News commentator Sean Hannity to create a fake controversy out of U.S. President Barack Obama's use of Dijon mustard on a hamburger:https://twitter.com/dominicholden/status/872869683816517633
  • Obama did indeed dine at Arthur Bryant's during a trip to Kansas City in 2014, and Trump has repeatedly tweeted criticisms of actions Obama undertook during his presidency.

As noted in contemporaneous news reports, the restaurant's PR team at the time issued a statement countering the fake tweet that read in part:

We would have graciously welcomed President Trump in the same manner we have welcomed many other Presidents and legislators. At Arthur Bryant’s we respect the office of the Presidency and we value all of our customers: Republican, Democrat, Libertarian, or other. Our barbeque transcends political parties! I guess we got our own little piece of Fake News going on.

Article 2 of 4 in Collection


KMBC-TV.   "Arthur Bryant's Burnt Over Fake Social Media Post Claiming Trump Was Turned Away."     25 July 2018.

Durkheimer, Michael.   "The Trump-Ketchup Controversy."     Forbes.   22 May 2017.

Riotta, Chris.   "Fox News Was Attacking Barack Obama for Using Dijon Mustard at This Point in His Presidency."     Newsweek.   9 June 2017.

Jackson, David.   "Obama Dines at Arthur Bryant's."     USA Today.   30 July 2014.

Plake, Sarah.   "Arthur Bryant's Turned Away Trump? Fake News."     KSHB-TV.   25 July 2018.

Koch, Makenzie.   "Arthur Bryant’s Clears the Air After Fake Social Media Post Says Trump Was Turned Away."     WDAF-TV.   25 July 2018.

Harrison, Haley.   "President Obama Dines at Kansas City's Arthur Bryant's Barbeque."     KMBC-TV.   29 July 2014.

Selk, Avi and and Sarah Murray.   "The Owner of the Red Hen Explains Why She Asked Sarah Huckabee Sanders to Leave."     The Washington Post.   25 June 2018.

KSHB-TV.   "Trump Hits Back on Critics of Trade Policy During VFW Speech."     24 July 2018.

David Mikkelson founded the site now known as snopes.com back in 1994.