According to information released by a CNN reporter, White House press secretary Sarah Sanders will get secret service protection in the coming days. Though the news break did not clarify when the secret service protection would begin to take place or for how long, publications are already beginning to stipulate that this order is related to Sanders' conflict with the Red Hen Restaurant. A week ago, Sanders was asked to leave the restaurant located in Lexington, Virginia, after the owner told her she wasn't welcome, due to her role in the Trump administration.
To CNN, the Secret Service declined to comment, saying instead, "For operational security purposes the Secret Service does not comment on its protective operations." Bustle reached out to the White House for comment, but did not hear back by time of publication.
During Monday's White House Briefing, Sanders said that she and her husband "politely left", according to CNN. Sanders added,
I was asked to leave because I worked for President Trump. We are allowed to disagree but we should be able to do so freely and without fear of harm, and this goes for all people regardless of politics. Healthy debate on ideas and political philosophy is important, but the calls for harassment and push for any Trump supporter to avoid the public is unacceptable.
According to the owner of the Red Hen restaurant, Stephanie Wilkinson, the decision to ask Sanders to leave was not one that she came to lightly. "I'm not a huge fan of confrontation," 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."
Wilkinson added that she spoke to her staff prior to making the decision, and they all agreed that she should ask Sanders to leave. Wilkinson also stressed that Sanders had already eaten prior to being asked to leave, so she wasn't actually denied service.
I said [to Sanders], 'I'm the owner,' [and] 'I'd like you to come out to the patio with me for a word.' I was babbling a little, but I got my point across in a polite and direct fashion. I explained that the restaurant has certain standards that I feel it has to uphold, such as honesty, and compassion, and cooperation.
Wilkinson told Sanders that the meal was on the house, and Sanders reportedly left quietly. Immediately after, though, Sanders fired off a tweet which lay claim to her own perception of what had happened.
"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 tweeted. "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."
As for Trump, he immediately tweeted his fury at their refusal to serve Sanders. "The Red Hen Restaurant should focus more on cleaning its filthy canopies, doors and windows (badly needs a paint job) rather than refusing to serve a fine person like Sarah Huckabee Sanders," Trump tweeted. "I always had a rule, if a restaurant is dirty on the outside, it is dirty on the inside!"
Since then, the Red Hen controversy has ignited a firestorm, with several other Red Hen restaurants (entirely unrelated to the one in Lexington) bearing the weight of the anger of many Trump supporters. On the other side of the partisan aisle, lawmakers like Maxine Waters have used this incident as a motivator to encourage individuals to continue to speak out against the Trump administration.
At a rally on Saturday, Waters encouraged people to tell Trump administration officials they aren't welcome in public places, adding that there will be "no sleep, no peace" as long as policies such as the family separation and detainment policy are in place.
Sanders has not yet commented about the specific cause for the reported secret service protection.