After White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders was asked to leave The Red Hen, a restaurant in rural Virginia, it was only a matter of time before her boss stepped in to comment on the incident. And when he did, he did so not just as the president, but as someone who has strong opinions about restaurants. President Trump tweeted about The Red Hen, but many of the responses to his tweet seem to be focusing on the restaurants at his own properties — specifically the health and safety-challenged ones at his Mar-A-Lago complex.
"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 on Monday morning. "I always had a rule, if a restaurant is dirty on the outside, it is dirty on the inside!"
Among the responses were mentions of numerous articles covering the health and safety violations at an establishment where Trump is known to dine frequently: the Mar-a-Lago restaurants. In April 2017, Fox News reported that health inspectors in Florida had noted 15 violations on the resort's inspection, including meat and seafood not stored or prepared safely, shelves with rust, and cooks not wearing hairnets.
The Trump Organization did not respond to Fox's request for comment about the violations. People reading Trump's tweet about The Red Hen, though, took it upon themselves to remind the president not only about the health violations at what he's referred to in the past as the Winter White House, but also about other Trump restaurants that have been cited for health code violations.
For example, one user posted a Forbes article from 2012, the height of the "birther" controversy of Trump's own making, about how his Las Vegas "DJT" steakhouse had been shut down for not 15, but 51 health code violations. Those included month-old caviar, five-month old duck, unsafely cooked halibut, and a freezer that didn't work. "Yeah, you might want to clean your own house," one Twitter user posted, along with the article about the steakhouse.
Numerous people resorted to just emojis when posting their links to or screenshots of the news about Mar-a-Lago's health code violations. "¯\_(ツ)_/¯" one user posted along with a link to the Fox article, evidently believing that no actual words were necessary.
Another Twitter user went even farther into the problems that the Mar-a-Lago resort has had to deal with, posting a January 2018 Miami Herald article about emergency repairs that the resort had to make in order to pass an inspection. According to the Herald, a November 2017 inspection revealed that while the kitchens had passed muster that time, Mar-a-Lago had smoke alarms that didn't fully function and staircases with slabs of concrete missing from them. This was cause for emergency repairs, which had been carried out for the next inspection in January. Given that Trump's main comments about The Red Hen had to do with its outside appearance, Mar-a-Lago's maintenance situation is just as relevant.
The Red Hen itself doesn't have any information about their health and safety rating on their website, and their Yelp page won't be helpful for anyone looking for information about the quality of the actual restaurant after the reviews section exploded with comments from Sanders' supporters and detractors. Tripadvisor turned off the reviews for the restaurant's page before the same could happen there, though, so The Red Hen's Tripadvisor rating is 4.5 stars. You can't compare that to what people actually think of Mar-a-Lago, though, because Slate reported in February 2017 that the resort's Tripadvisor page had been removed, Tripadvisor told Slate that this was because Mar-a-Lago was a members-only club. Still, even members could potentially have been affected by improperly cooked fish.