If there is one thing that officials in Donald Trump's administration are now intimately familiar with, it's public scorn. From White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders being asked to leave a restaurant in Virginia, to Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen getting booed at a Mexican restaurant, it's clear many people don't hesitate to call out Trump officials out. In the latest example of the trend, The Washington Post reported that Stephen Miller got heckled at a sushi restaurant in his own neighborhood.
Miller shared this anecdote with his colleagues in the White House, according to the Post. Miller reportedly told other officials that he recently went out to get some sushi for dinner in his area of Washington, D.C. After spending $80 dollars on takeout, Miller apparently stepped out of the restaurant and heard a bartender yell his name and swear at him while, flashing both his middle fingers. In the Post's telling, this enraged Miller, who then apparently threw away his expensive takeout sushi.
There's been a growing trend this year of people at restaurants, where immigrant employees often keep the business running, booing and calling out prominent figures from the Trump administration. There have been instances involving not only Nielsen and Sanders as mentioned above, but also former Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Scott Pruitt: A mother at a D.C. restaurant told him to resign.
The relationship between migrant workers and American restaurants is well-documented and longstanding. In February 2017, dozens of restaurants closed business for an entire day to protest the current administration's hostility toward immigrants, noting that the country often depends on the labor of foreign workers for food.
In another recent instance of heckling at a restaurant, locals followed Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell on Saturday as he left one Kentucky establishment. People called on McConnell to distance himself from Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), while also warning him that they could "vote you out!"
Protesters also called out McConnell's wife, Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao, last month in Washington, D.C. The protesters played a disturbing audio recording from ProPublica of the cries of immigrant children begging to see their parents. Chao responded to the protesters by saying, "Why don't you leave my husband alone?"
Chao's response may be ironic to some, considering that she arrived in the United States as an immigrant with her mother and siblings on a cargo ship in 1961. In fact, in a conversation with CNN, Chao once said, "As an adult looking back and seeing my mother who was only like 27, you know how frightening it must have been as the only woman aboard this cargo ship with three young girls?"
"I mean," Chao added, "that's pretty rough."
When it came to Miller's reported sushi-tossing, though, the White House adviser didn't appear to have many sympathizers on social media. Some joked that Miller dipped his sushi in the garbage before he ate it, while others, including a New York Times reporter, said they didn't believe that the White House adviser would actually throw his $80 sushi away.
Beyond the jokes and digs on social media, Miller's critics had a larger message. It was clear that whether or not he lost out on his takeout dinner was less important than the heart-wrenching plight of children and parents who were forced apart by the administration's immigration policy.
"Repeat after me," Twitter user Adam Best wrote. "Trump administration members are not victims. The oppressors cannot also be the oppressed."