White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Slanders was denied service at a Virginia restaurant reportedly over the owner’s “moral convictions” and then all hell broke loose on social media, with Yelp review wars ensuing from Trump supporters and critics of the Trump administration. Sanders confirmed that she was kicked out of the restaurant in a tweet. Trump’s White House press secretary was 86ed from the restaurant, along with 7 guests. “86” is restaurant slang for getting rid of something, ejecting someone, or refusing service. The story has gone viral.
Stephanie Wilkinson, the co-owner of the Red Hen in Lexington, explained why she refused to serve Sarah Sanders. She told the Washington Post that the chef called her to say that “the staff is a little concerned. What should we do?” after learning that Sanders was about to dine there.
Wilkinson believes that Sanders works in the service of an “inhumane and unethical” administration.
“I’m not a huge fan of confrontation,” Wilkinson said. “I have a business, and I want the business to thrive. This feels like the moment in our democracy when people have to make uncomfortable actions and decisions to uphold their morals.”
While the staff in the kitchen was preparing the party’s main course, Wilkinson huddled with her employees, some of whom are gay and knew that Sanders defended Trump’s transgender ban from the military. And then, of course, there is Trump’s ‘zero-tolerance’ policy that caused a firestorm of attention.
“Tell me what you want me to do. I can ask her to leave,” Wilkinson told her staff, she recalled. “They said yes.”
Sanders had already been served her food by this time. She walked up to Sanders to say that she’s the owner and added: ” ‘I’d like you to come out to the patio with me for a word.’”
“I was babbling a little, but I got my point across in a polite and direct fashion,” Wilkinson said. “I explained that the restaurant has certain standards that I feel it has to uphold, such as honesty, and compassion, and cooperation.”
“I said, ‘I’d like to ask you to leave.’”
Sanders’s responded immediately to say, “That’s fine. I’ll go.”
Sanders went back to the table, picked up her things and walked out, but the others at her table were welcome to stay, Wilkinson explained but added that they didn’t.
“They offered to pay,” Wilkinson said. “I said, ‘No. It’s on the house.’ ”
This isn’t the first time this has happened to members of this toxic administration and it won’t be the last.