The co-owner of Lexington’s Red Hen restaurant Friday night asked White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders to leave because she and the staff did not want her there.
When staff at the Red Hen called co-owner Stephanie Wilkinson to say Sanders showed up with family and friends for dinner and they were uncomfortable with her in the restaurant, Wilkinson responded: “Tell me what you want me to do. I can ask her to leave.”
The staff responded “yes.” Wilkinson said some of her staff are gay and were uncomfortable with Trump’s attempts to ban transgenders from the military. Sander, like her right-wing father, former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee, is vocally anti-gay and homophobic.
Wilkinson said came to restaurant and talked with Sanders privately away from the table with her guests.
“I explained that the restaurant has certain standards that I feel it has to uphold, such as honesty, compassion and coöperation. I said ‘I wold like to leave.'”
Wilkinson told The Associated Press that she talked privately with Sanders, away from the table with her guests, and asked her to leave. Sanders, she said, replied “fine. I’ll go.” So did the other members of her party.
Afterwards, Sander — like her boss — took to Twitter:
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.
One of the restaurant’s servers posted a photo of “whiteboard” notation that said: “86 Sara Huckabee Sanders.” The use of “86” is restaurant industry code to refuse service.
Then the social media war started. Sanders comments received more than 14,000 in just an hour or so. That soon ballooned to more than 36,000. Facebook had to remove a series of posts where fans of Trump urged people to call and swamp the restaurant with phony reservation requests. Others told people who lived in or near Lexington to go to the restaurant “and only water.”
Some praised Wilkinson for her action. Others said she had no right to ask Sanders to leave.
Jennifer Rubin, conservative columnist for The Washington Post, has this to say about Sanders:
White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders — whose lies are piling up at a furious rate and whose defense of the child-separation policy prompted a reporter to exclaim, “Come on, Sarah, you’re a parent” — was reportedly asked to leave a restaurant in Virginia on Friday because she works for President Trump. In a tweet, she explained that “I was told by the owner of Red Hen in Lexington, VA to leave because I work for @POTUS and I politely left.” She then couldn’t help lying again: “I always do my best to treat people, including those I disagree with, respectfully and will continue to do so.” Anyone who has seen her sneer, insult and condescend to the press knows that’s not the case.
And Sanders’ father, Mike Huckabee, has his own twist to the story:
Bigotry. On the menu at Red Hen Restaurant in Lexington VA. Or you can ask for the “Hate Plate”. And appetizers are “small plates for small minds”
Another skirmish in the unending turmoil that surrounds the presidency of Donald Trump.
(Updated with more information)