Sanders was told the restaurant ‘had certain standards to uphold’
White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders says she was asked to leave a rural Virginia restaurant over the weekend because of her work in the Trump administration.
Ms. Sanders said that the owner of the restaurant, the Red Hen in Lexington, Va., asked her to leave and she agreed. The owner’s actions “say far more about her than about me,” Sanders tweet said. “I always do my best to treat people, including those I disagree with, respectfully and will continue to do so.”
Last night I was told by the owner of Red Hen in Lexington, VA to leave because I work for @POTUS and I politely left. Her actions say far more about her than about me. I always do my best to treat people, including those I disagree with, respectfully and will continue to do so
— Sarah Sanders (@PressSec) June 23, 2018
“I’m not a huge fan of confrontation,” owner Stephanie Wilkinson told The Washington Post. “I have a business, and I want the business to thrive. This feels like the moment in our democracy when people have to make uncomfortable actions and decisions to uphold their morals.”
The group, who’d booked under Sander’s husband’s name, had already been served a cheese board and were waiting for their main course when Wilkinson arrived at the restaurant after being called at home by her chef. “He said the staff is a little concerned. What should we do?” Wilkinson told The Post. “I said I’d be down to see if it’s true.”
One she confirmed it was, in fact, Sanders she asked the entire staff what they’d like her to do and they unanimously told her they’d like Sanders to leave. And so Wilkinson pulled Sanders aside and told her so. “I explained that the restaurant has certain standards that I feel it has to uphold, such as honesty, and compassion, and cooperation,” she said.
Sometimes, the popular vote wins.
Sanders agreed and the entire group left the restaurant. She said they offered to pay but Wilkinson told her “it was on the house.”
Social media erupted after Sarah Sanders’ public outcry:
Socially ostracizing someone who defends child internment camps is the absolute least we should be doing. https://t.co/4qkYZicF0D
— Jessica Valenti (@JessicaValenti) June 23, 2018
I’m not comfortable that public officials can be kicked out of public establishments b/c of their politics.But I’m saving my outrage for the 2,000 children still separated from their parents. You work for the most hateful man in America, Ms. Sanders. https://t.co/QpE8LkxM7h
— Rev. Dr. Chuck Currie (@RevChuckCurrie) June 23, 2018
The Red Hen should have just taken Sarah Sanders' order, then spent an hour saying, "We'll get back to you on that."
— James Poniewozik (@poniewozik) June 23, 2018
Dear Sarah Sanders,
Thousands of Red Hen fans
— Eugene Gu, MD (@eugenegu) June 23, 2018
Others pointed out that Sanders can’t use her government social media account to condemn a private business:
Sanders used her official govt account to condemn a private business for personal reasons. Seeks to coerce business by using her office to get public to pressure it. Violates endorsements ban too, which has an obvious corollary for discouraging patronage. Misuse reg covers both.
— Walter Shaub (@waltshaub) June 23, 2018
In case anyone forgot, Sanders has been vocal about refusing patrons for religious reasons, like a business hanging a sign in their window saying they won’t serve gay couples. Her public bashing of the Red Hen for doing that exact thing for moral differences is absurd, though not at all surprising.
.@PressSec says that @realDonaldTrump's support of "religious liberty" would include a baker putting a sign in the window saying, "We don't bake cakes for gay weddings" #MasterpieceCakeshop pic.twitter.com/BES376f2V8
— GLAAD (@glaad) December 5, 2017
In recent weeks, multiple Trump staffers have been called out in a similar fashion as tensions rose over the child-separation policy, one which Sanders herself has shown zero remorse over. Kirstjen Nielsen, the secretary of homeland security, was heckled by protesters while dining at — of all things — a Mexican restaurant: “If kids don’t eat in peace, you don’t eat in peace.”