On Friday night, a Virginia restaurant owner refused to serve Sarah Huckabee Sanders because, according to the White House press secretary, she worked for President Trump. On Saturday, Sanders responded to the restaurant incident, saying its owner's actions "say far more about her than about me."
On Friday night, Sanders went to dinner at The Red Hen in Lexington, Virginia. with her family, according to a waiter. Only minutes later, the owner allegedly asked Sanders and her party to leave the establishment.
In a move perhaps learned from her boss, Sanders responded via a tweet on Saturday morning: "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."
According to Facebook, the restaurant's chefs are Matt Adams and Becca Norris Adams. While no public posts from the server nor Sanders mention which owner or boss specifically asked Sanders to leave, the press secretary used the "her" pronoun. In identifying the restaurant by name and location, it seemed almost inevitable that people would begin flooding their online profiles.
On Facebook, reviews on both ends of the spectrum poured in. As of writing, The Red Hen's Facebook page had 13,000 reviews. There were 3,800 5-star reviews in comparison to the 8,700 one-star reviews. The 2-star, 3-star, and 4-star review numbers were much more reasonable for a local restaurant—105, 18, and 39, respectively.
A one-star review said The Red Hen "should be ashamed" by their actions. "You are no different then people in the past who did not allow blacks into their establishments. America now knows who and what you are. Hope your business tanks!"
The Red Hen's Yelp page saw a similar influx of mixed reviews. Now the establishment has more than 5,000 reviews. Some reviews came from people who never ate at the restaurant, but saw the Sanders incident as particularly important. A one-star reviewer wrote, "I would never, ever eat in your disgusting establishment!!! Kicking people out over differing political opinions is un-American and downright biased."
Sanders' father, former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee, got in on the anti-Red Hen action online, too. "Bigotry" is "on the menu at Red Hen Restaurant in Lexington VA. Or you can ask for the 'Hate Plate.' And appetizers are 'small plates for the small minds,'" Huckabee tweeted on Saturday morning.
This isn't the first time Trump administration employees have had problems getting a meal out in public or socializing. On Tuesday, protesters confronted Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen while she was eating at a Mexican restaurant in Washington, D.C., after defending the administration's policy that lead to children being separated from their parents at the border. Politico published a 3,000-word story on Friday about young Trump staffers who were having problems finding people to date or places to hand out because of their boss.
On Sunday, White House adviser Stephen Miller was called a "real-life fascist" while he attempted to eat at a different Mexican restaurant in Washington, D.C., according to The New York Post. A fellow diner went up to Miller, according to The Post, and said, “Hey look guys, whoever thought we’d be in a restaurant with a real-life fascist begging [for] money for new cages?”
Miller — while a more-under-the-radar administration official than Sanders — has been a champion of the zero-tolerance policy that Nielsen later implemented, and Sanders defended. Though the 2020 election is years away, it seems like people have no qualms about making their thoughts on the Trump administration crystal clear.