Sarah Sanders has slammed the manager of a Virginia restaurant who refused to serve her and seven family members on Friday night, saying: ‘Her actions say far more about her than about me’.
The White House Press Secretary tweeted on Saturday morning that she ‘politely left’ The Red Hen in Lexington after it was made clear she was not welcome ‘because I work for POTUS’.
Sanders has received intense criticism over recent days as one of the most public defenders of President Trump’s now reversed policy to separate migrant children from their families.
The incident first came to light when staff member Jaike Foley-Schultz said he was only able to serve Sanders for two minutes before the manager came over and kicked her out.
‘I just served Sarah Huckabee Sanders for a total of 2 minutes before my owner kicked her out along with 7 of her other family members,’ he posted on Facebook.
The post went viral after Brennan Gilmore, the director of nonprofit green group Clean Virginia, shared it on Twitter along with a handwritten note supposedly from the restaurant that read: ’86 — Sara Huckabee Sanders’.
Gilmore wrote: ‘@PressSecretary got kicked out of The Red Hen restaurant in Lexington, Va tonight. Apparently the owner didn’t want to serve her and her party out of moral conviction.’
’86’ is restaurant industry slang meaning ‘throw out’.
The Red Hen accepts walk-ins, as Sanders’ name had apparently already been written down by staff and assigned to a table suggests she had pre-booked.
Sanders tweeted on Saturday morning: ‘Last night I was told by the owner of The Red Hen in Lexington, VA to leave because I work for @POTUS and I politely left.
‘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, Mike Huckabee, the governor of Arkansas from 1996 to 2007, also slammed the decision to evict his daughter.
‘Bigotry. On the menu at The Red Hen Restaurant in Lexington VA. Or you can ask for the ‘Hate Plate’. And appetizers are ‘small plates for small minds” he tweeted on Saturday.
But many supported the restaurant, including model Christine Teigen, who replied to Sanders’ tweet by saying: ‘Didn’t you morons get your panties in a wad defending the baker that didn’t want to make cakes for gay couples?’
MSNBC host Lawrence O’Donnell wrote: ‘You do NOT treat reporters “respectfully.” You lie to them and personally insult some of them in full public view.’
The Red Rooster is now being bombarded with positive and negative reviews online.
Meanwhile, an unaffiliated restaurant with the same name in Washington D.C., has also been caught in the crossfire and is distancing itself from the scandal.
The Red Hen serves a form of cuisine known as New American, which combines traditional US food combined with foreign influences.
The restaurant boasts of its ‘farm to table dining in a rustic setting’ and offers upscale features such as a vegan tasting menu.
The New Year’s Eve menu 2017 cost $60 and featured dishes including Tuna Tartare, Corn and Lobster Chowder, Black Truffle Risotto and Oyster Vol Au Vent.
The Red Hen’s website is no longer working and appears to have crashed.
On March 1, 2016, its Facebook page offered free cake to anyone who came in wearing an ‘I Voted’ sticker after casting a ballot in the presidential primaries.
The post read: ‘When you dine with us tonight wearing your ‘I Voted’ sticker, you’ll get a piece of our Devil’s Food cake on the house. Democracy is sweet. Savor every bite.’
On Saturday, the restaurant’s social media pages were being bombarded with comments from purported diners from all over the country.
The posts ranged across the political spectrum, from supportive comments from Trump critics to abuse from his supporters.
Douglas S. from Chico, California, wrote: ‘Based on their hate and prejudices I would not patronize this place. Americans have worked hard for peace and social justice but up with a place that is owned by an intolerant fascist.’
Steven C., from Marysville, Washington, was also scathing, writing: ‘I would never eat here again. The owner is a bigot. The way I’ve seen him treat customers is despicable. Don’t waste your money here!’
Others supported the decision, with Frederick H. of Jackson writing: ‘Thank you for standing up for all of us. Will definitely visit next month when I’m in the area.’
And Will S. wrote from Las Vegas: ‘Highly recommend! If you want a place that has amazing food and has the right moral compass, I would go to the Red Hen!’
On Yelp, a reviewer of the restaurant from Los Angeles wrote: ‘Don’t eat here if you’re a Republican, wearing a MAGA hat or a patriot.’
’12/10 would recommend. Bonus: this place is run by management who stuck up for their beliefs and who are true Americans. THANK YOU!!!!’ said a reviewer from Commerce City, Colorado.
Dailymail.com has contacted The Red Hen for comment.