Sarah Sanders asked to leave restaurant over work for Trump

White House press secretary says she politely left Virginia restaurant when owner asked

 Sarah Huckabee Sanders said the episode on Friday evening said far more about the owner of the restaurant than it did about her. Photograph: Leah Millis/Reuters

Sarah Huckabee Sanders said the episode on Friday evening said far more about the owner of the restaurant than it did about her. Photograph: Leah Millis/Reuters

 

White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders was told to leave a Virginia restaurant because she works for US president Donald Trump.

Ms Sanders tweeted that she was told by the owner of the Red Hen in Lexington, Virginia, that she had to “leave because I work for POTUS and I politely left”.

She said the episode on Friday evening said far more about the owner of the restaurant than it did about her.

“I always do my best to treat people, including those I disagree with, respectfully and will continue to do so,” Ms Sanders said in the tweet from her official account, which generated 22,000 replies in about an hour.

The restaurant’s co-owner Stephanie Wilkinson told The Washington Post that her staff had called her to report Ms Sanders was in the restaurant.

She cited several reasons, including the concerns of several restaurant employees who were gay and knew Ms Sanders had defended Mr Trump’s desire to bar transgender people from the military.

This Red Hen Restaurant in downtown Lexington, Virginia. Photograph: Daniel Lin/AP
This Red Hen Restaurant in downtown Lexington, Virginia. Photograph: Daniel Lin/AP

“Tell me what you want me to do. I can ask her to leave,” Ms Wilkinson told her staff, she said.

“They said yes. . . We just felt there are moments in time when people need to live their convictions.”

Ms Wilkinson said that she talked to Ms Sanders privately and that Ms Sanders’s response was immediate: “That’s fine. I’ll go.”

Several thousand people have posted messages of support and criticism of the restaurant for the move on its Yelp page.

Earlier this week, Department of Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen was confronted by protesters at a Mexican restaurant in Washington, DC. Protesters yelled “Shame! Shame!” and it came as the Trump administration defended its hardline immigration policy at the US-Mexico border. Ms Nielsen decided to leave the restaurant.–Reuters and PA