WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump is expected to attend the College Football Playoff championship game in New Orleans on Jan. 13, according to a source familiar with preparations underway but not authorized to discuss them publicly.
[UPDATE: Monday, Jan. 6:] A White House official has confirmed to this paper plans for the president to attend the game.
Trump, who has taken to attending college football events as he's feuded with the NFL over kneeling players, attended the LSU vs. Alabama game in Tuscaloosa in November, and he's attended previous college national championships.
The highly anticipated game will feature the No. 1 undefeated LSU Tigers against the 3rd-ranked Clemson Tigers at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome.
On Monday, Trump called LSU coach Ed Orgeron to compliment the team on its 63-28 blowout over Oklahoma in the Peach Bowl and reportedly expressed interest in attending the championship game.
The White House does not typically release transcripts of the president's phone calls and didn't provide a standard read out of the call with Orgeron. A White House spokesman didn't respond to multiple requests for more details about the call.
But Orgeron detailed the conversation during a teleconference the following Tuesday morning.
"I was very honored to get a call from President Trump," he said. "He was very pleasant to talk to. Very complimentary of our football team, our coaching staff. Complimentary of the way the state of Louisiana has rallied around us. Was complimentary of the way we played all year and wished us good luck in the game."
Trump's trip to New Orleans, if it happens, would be his seventh trip to Louisiana since taking office in January 2017, including three visits during the 2019 gubernatorial race.
His attendance at the game would likely add to the challenge local public-safety officials anticipate as tens of thousands of fans descend on New Orleans.
New Orleans police, who will be out in force in the tourist-heavy areas around the Superdome and the French Quarter, typically provide additional support to the U.S. Secret Service with motorcades and other security measures, including road closures.
Trump's attendance at the LSU-Alabama game in November prompted heightened security and gates were opened early to accommodate anticipated fan delays. Similarly, his attendance at the 2018 football championship in Atlanta led to increased security in and around the stadium.
Ed Orgeron received a surprise phone call Monday, and at first, he was confused by who it was.
President Donald Trump called LSU coach on Monday to discuss LSU's historic season, according to story first reported by Sports Illustrated on…