Lexington, Virginia is a unique town in that the town voted overwhelmingly against Trump, in a county that is incredibly Pro-Trump.
When the co-owner of the small restaurant, Stephanie Wilkinson, was alerted to the presence of the politician in her restaurant by concerned staff, she made a plan.
“I’m not a huge fan of confrontation,” Wilkinson told Washington Post.
“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,” she continued.
The owner of the restaurant told Washington Post she was worried that the presence of a politician who defended “inhumane and unethical” policies would be bad for business and employees alike, as several of the staff at the restaurant are gay.
Sanders also defended Trump’s policy to ban transgender people from the military, and this month, has defended the separation of migrant children from their parents.
“I was babbling a little, but I got my point across in a polite and direct fashion,” Wilkinson told Washington Post.
“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.’ ”
While the politician offered to pay for the cheese boards they had already eaten, Wilkinson told them it was on the house.
On Saturday, Huckabee Sanders tweeted about the incident, saying “I always do my best to treat people, including those I disagree with, respectfully”.
Last night I was told by the owner of 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
— Sarah Sanders (@PressSec) June 23, 2018
Others, however, pointed out the irony of the Press Secretary previously stating that the administration supported the right of a conservative baker to refuse to make a cake for a gay wedding, and then herself being offended by being refused service.
The baker had a right to not make a cake for a gay couple right? This restaurant owner had a right to not serve you-someone who lies to the American people daily and on our dime. I’ll be visiting the Red Hen next time I’m in the state. Thanks Red Hen!
— Holly (@HollyontheMove) June 24, 2018
Wow Sarah I am so sorry this happened to you. Now imagine it was your wedding and you were trying to buy a cake.
— Decadent Goblin Queen (@IanMenard) June 24, 2018
Others also said her Tweet was a violation of ethics laws – as she used an official government asset (her Twitter account) to threaten a small business owner.
There were, of course, some who claimed Red Hen had destroyed their business in refusing to serve the Press Secretary. But somehow, we don’t think that’s the case.