When White House press secretary Sarah Sanders tweeted out her confirmation on Saturday that she was refused service at a Virginia restaurant, one media outlet dubbed her comments an attack.
In its Saturday story about the incident, the website Politico reported that “the tweet qualified as an uncommonly specific attack from an official White House account on a private business.”
Sanders on Saturday had issued a tweet responding to social media reports about the Friday incident.
“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,” Sanders wrote. “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.”
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
— Stephanie Grisham (@PressSec) June 23, 2018
The incident first made news when Jaike Foley-Schultz, a waiter at the restaurant, posted about it Friday on his Facebook page, which is private.
“I just served Sarah huckabee sanders (sic) for a total of 2 minutes before my owner kicked her out along with 7 of her other family members…” Foley-Schultz posted, according to Politico.
The restaurant’s Facebook page also soon emerged as a battleground over the incident, as posters entered their comments under the section for reviews. The Twittersphere also weighed in, including one tweet from Sanders’ father, former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee.
“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,’” he wrote.
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” https://t.co/rHEVdcQwwh
— Gov. Mike Huckabee (@GovMikeHuckabee) June 23, 2018
Restaurant owner Stephanie Wilkinson characterized the incident as a moral choice in an interview with The Washington Post.
Because Sanders defended what Wilkinson believed to be an “inhumane and unethical” administration, Wilkinson said she was fair game to be refused service.
“I’m not a huge fan of confrontation,” Wilkinson said. “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 owner said that when she told Sanders and her party of her decision, there were no objections.
Wilkinson said Sanders said, “‘That’s fine. I’ll go.’”
“They offered to pay,” Wilkinson said. “I said, ‘No. It’s on the house.’”
Although booting Sanders has mushroomed into a social media controversy, Wilkinson had no second thoughts.
“Absolutely, yes, I would have done the same thing again,” she said.
And that is the problem, wrote commentator Lauren DeBellis Appellin in a piece for Fox News.
OPINION: Red Hen teaches Sarah Huckabee Sanders that Virginia is for PC bullies (not for lovers) https://t.co/WKm2nQfVS5
— Fox News (@FoxNews) June 24, 2018
“This political correctness is quickly approaching dangerous and irrational levels the likes of which we’ve never witnessed before,” wrote Appell, a Fairfax, Virginia, resident who once served as deputy press secretary for former Sen. Rick Santorum, a Pennsylvania Republican. “In the age of social media anyone can seize an opportunity to publicly take a stand against President Trump, and know that it could easily become national news and give them their 15 minutes of fame in the process.
“The staff at The Red Hen knew if they asked Sanders to leave they’d get national news coverage. Shortly afterward employees were lighting up Twitter with tales of how their boss gave Sarah the boot, on moral grounds of course,” she wrote.
The incident was a demonstration of what liberals really stand for, Appell wrote.
“Those who claim to represent ‘certain standards’- including tolerance and inclusiveness – should stand up and take notice,” she wrote. “This is what it looks like.”
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