White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders used her official Twitter account to call out a restaurant she was asked to leave because she works for President Donald Trump. Supporters have unleashed a bevy of vengeful comments and reviews, while others question her choice to use her platform to take down a small business.
After an employee at the restaurant shared the incident on social media, Sanders told her version of the story with on the @PressSec Twitter account.
“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 tweet from her White House account reads. “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— Sarah Sanders (@PressSec) June 23, 2018
Sanders has not made further comment about the incident, but the restaurant’s co-owner, Stephanie Wilkinson, did. “This feels like the moment in our democracy when people have to make uncomfortable actions and decisions to uphold their morals,” Wilkinson told The Washington Post. Wilkinson said she consulted her employees before asking Sanders if she would step aside for a private conversation. “I explained that the restaurant has certain standards that I feel it has to uphold, such as honesty, and compassion, and cooperation. I said, ‘I’d like to ask you to leave,’” the restaurant owner continued. Sanders and her party left without any issue and they were comped their meal. According to The Washington Post, the negative reviews of the restaurant started after a waiter’s post gained traction online.
Just because Sanders is a public figure doesn’t mean she can’t give a restaurant a bad review; however, the bad review is her personal opinion. She has a verified personal Twitter account with over 223,000 followers but her bad review is nowhere to be found on that account. Instead, she chose to use her official White House account with just over 3 million followers.
This tweet and the reach that it possesses is having a very real impact on the Red Hen restaurant. Since Sanders tweeted, the Red Hen’s Yelp, Facebook, and Google pages have been bombarded with one-star reviews from Trump supporters as well as flooding the comments sections on each of the positive reviews with hate-filled, pro-MAGA propaganda and cries to boycott the restaurant. In the time that I’ve written this, thousands of more one-star reviews have been added.
Think about this.— Matt Fuller (@MEPFuller) June 23, 2018
Sarah Huckabee Sanders went home after this incident. She went to sleep. She woke up. A good 12 hrs after the incident — knowing this restaurant and person would become an enemy to the most rabid Trump supporters — she used her official account for this tweet.
Sanders isn’t the only one working for the Trump administration who has been forced to leave a restaurant this week. One day after supporting the administration’s policy of separating families at the U.S.-Mexico border, Secretary of Homeland Security Kirstjen Nielsen was quickly joined by a crowd of protestors outside of a Mexican restaurant in Washington D.C. Yes, she actually decided to eat at Mexican restaurant after agreeing with a policy that is tearing families apart as they cross into the United States from Mexico.