White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders calls on a member of the media during the daily briefing in the Brady Press Briefing Room of the White House, Friday, Oct. 20, 2017, in Washington. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)
Last night, White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders went with a small group to a tiny restaurant in Lexington, VA. And, as can only happen in the age of Trump, a totally non-political act became a political statement.
Stephanie Wilkinson was at home Friday evening — nearly 200 miles from the White House — when the choice presented itself.
Her phone rang about 8 p.m. It was the chef at the Red Hen, the tiny farm-to-table restaurant that she co-owned just off Main Street in Lexington, Va.
Sarah Huckabee Sanders had just walked in and sat down, the chef informed her.
“He said the staff is a little concerned. What should we do?” Wilkinson told The Washington Post. “I said I’d be down to see if it’s true.”
Several Red Hen employees were gay, she said. They knew Sanders had defended Trump’s desire to bar transgender people from the military. This month, they had all watched her evade questions and defend a Trump policy that caused migrant children to be separated from their parents.
“Tell me what you want me to do. I can ask her to leave,” Wilkinson told her staff, she said. “They said yes.”
It was important to Wilkinson, she said, that Sanders had already been served — that her staff had not simply refused her on sight. And it was important to her that Sanders was a public official, not just a customer with whom she disagreed, many of whom were included in her regular clientele.
All the same, she was tense as she walked up to the press secretary’s chair.
“I said, ‘I’m the owner,’ ” she recalled, ” ‘I’d like you to come out to the patio with me for a word.’ ”
They stepped outside, into another small enclosure, but at least out of the crowded restaurant.
“I was babbling a little, but I got my point across in a polite and direct fashion,” Wilkinson said. “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.’ ”
Wilkinson didn’t know how Sanders would react. She said she didn’t know whether Trump’s chief spokeswoman had been called out in a restaurant before, as the president’s homeland security secretary had been days earlier.
Sanders’s response was immediate, Wilkinson said: ” ‘ That’s fine. I’ll go.’ ”
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
— Kayleigh McEnany (@PressSec) June 23, 2018
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
We didn't kick Sarah Huckabee Sanders out… we "asked her to leave" 🤦♂️🤦♂️🤦♂️
How stupid do these people think America is? pic.twitter.com/QgwBkFMvKI
— Tim Young (@TimRunsHisMouth) June 23, 2018
What we’re seeing here it two common themes from the left on display. The first is an application of Alinsky’s Rules for Radicals. He says, “Go after people and not institutions; people hurt faster than institutions.” He’s right. And you can see this from the personal attacks delivered on Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen. She was the subject of a protest at a restaurant and her home is being picketed. We can expect that Sanders will have the same experience several more times.
The other thing we’re seeing is simply misogyny. Notice who has been attacked like this? Melania Trump. Ivanka Trump. Sarah Sanders. Kirstjen Nielsen. When was the last time a restaurant turned away a male cabinet secretary? They haven’t and they won’t. Because this bunch has accurately predicted that women, particularly women who aren’t Roseanne Barr and who don’t work on The View, are going to leave rather than protest.
Eventually, this is going to go south for this bunch of assclowns who’ve politicized every facet of their lives and who now feel a freedom in acting out. But they aren’t going to like where it leads in the long run.
I guess we’re heading into an America with Democrat-only restaurants, which will lead to Republican-only restaurants. Do the fools who threw Sarah out, and the people who cheer them on, really want us to be that kind of country? https://t.co/n7RxHHoYF3
— Ari Fleischer (@AriFleischer) June 23, 2018
Putting the owner of a little restaurant in a small town in rural Virginia on blast with your official, government-owned account followed by 3 million people is very polite and respectful. Not petty and vengeful at all, Sarah, I agree. https://t.co/zx2LrTO9ta
— southpaw (@nycsouthpaw) June 23, 2018
— The Red Hen (@RedHenDC) June 23, 2018
The chef/owner of DC's Red Hen—unaffiliated with the Red Hen in Lexington, VA—says he would not have kicked out Sarah Sanders. "We serve everybody." https://t.co/3OA63XNkRc
— Jessica Sidman (@jsidman) June 23, 2018
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