It seems it's becoming harder and harder for members of the Trump administration to eat out. Less than a week after Trump's Homeland Security secretary was heckled by protesters at a Mexican eatery in Washington, D.C., White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders says a Virginia restaurant asked her to leave on Friday night because of her connection to President Donald Trump.
Sanders was apparently asked to leave The Red Hen in Lexington, Virginia, by the owner shortly after arriving to eat, according to accounts from both Sanders and a waiter at the restaurant. "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," The Hill reported Jaike Foley-Schultz, who identified himself as a waiter at The Red Hen, wrote in a Facebook post published Friday.
As news of the incident spread Saturday, Foley-Schultz amended his Facebook post to say, "My owner asked her to leave and she complied." However, although Foley-Schultz admits his employer asked Sanders to leave, he says the White House press secretary and her family "left on their own accord" and the restaurant "didn't actually refuse service or 'kick her out.'" The Red Hen has not responded to Bustle's request for comment.
Sanders confirmed the incident Saturday, saying it was her connection to President Trump that got her booted. "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," she said in a tweet. "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."
Sanders' father, former Arkansas governor Mike Huckabee slammed The Red Hen for turning his daughter away. "Bigotry. On the menu at Red Hen Restaurant in Lexington VA," he tweeted Saturday. "Or you can ask for the 'Hate Plate'. And appetizers are 'small plates for small minds.'"
Huckabee's claim the Virginia restaurant was serving up "bigotry" came just hours after he'd been accused of racism, dehumanization, and inciting hate on Twitter. Earlier in the day the former governor used a photo of five Hispanic men — which has been used online to represent gang members, according to The Hill — to imply that House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi supports violent criminals. Huckabee has previously referenced the gang known as MS-13 to advocate for stricter border control and his tweet appeared to be an attempt to paint Pelosi as a friend of MS-13.
This isn't the first time that a Trump administration employee has found it hard to eat out this week. Some 10 to 15 protesters confronted Trump's Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen while she was dining at a Mexican restaurant in Washington, D.C. on Tuesday. According to the Washington Post, protesters heckled Nielsen and her dining companion, accusing her of being "complicit in the separation and deportation of" migrant children.
"How can you enjoy a Mexican dinner as you're deporting and imprisoning tens of thousands of people who come here seeking asylum in the United States?" video of the protest shared online by the Metro D.C. Democratic Socialists of America showed a male protester yelling at Nielsen. Thanks to her role in explaining and defending the Trump administration's policy of separating families at the border, Nielsen has become the face of the controversial policy.
In light of Saturday's news regarding Sanders' experience at The Red Hen, Yelp and Facebook pages for the restaurant have been flooded with 5 and 1 star reviews as people with different political opinions show their support, or disgust, for the Virginia eatery.