White House Press Secretary tweeted Saturday that she was asked to leave a Virginia restaurant because she works for President Donald Trump.
Sanders said the owner of the Red Hen in Lexington told her to leave the restaurant Friday night.
Co-owner Stephanie Wilkinson told the Washington Post she was at home when the restaurant’s chef called her and told her Sanders was there.
Wilkinson drove to the restaurant, where she spoke with her staff then asked to talk to Sanders in private.
“I was babbling a little, but I got my point across in a polite and direct fashion,” Wilkinson told the Post. “I explained that the restaurant has certain standards that I feel it has to uphold, such as honesty, and compassion, and cooperation.”
Sanders, who Wilkinson said to the Post works in an “inhumane and unethical” administration, responded, “That’s fine. I’ll go.”
Wilkinson told the Post she was acting on behalf of the wishes of her entire staff, several members of which are gay and remembered Sanders’ defense of Trump’s plan to bar transgender people from the military.
The story first circulated on Twitter Friday night after Brennan Gilmore, the executive director of the progressive group Clean Virginia, tweeted a picture of a piece of paper that partially read “86 – Sarah Huckabee Sanders.” The tweet also said Sanders was “kicked out” because “the owner didn’t want to serve her and her party out of moral conviction.”
A Friday Facebook post from waiter Jaike Foley-Schultz said he served her “a total of 2 minutes” before the owner asked her to leave and she agreed. Foley-Schultz specified that Sanders’ “family left on their own accord, we didn’t actually refuse service or ‘kick her out.'”
Sanders’ father, former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee, weighed in on the news, as well.
“Bigotry. On the menu at Red Hen Restaurant in Lexington VA,” he wrote in response to his daughter’s tweet. “Or you can ask for the ‘Hate Plate’. And appetizers are ‘small plates for small minds.'”
Friday’s incident comes days after other Trump officials were confronted at Mexican restaurants in Washington, DC this week.
Protesters interrupted Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen’s dinner chanting “shame,” after which she left. White House adviser Stephen Miller was called a fascist while he was out at a separate dinner.
Nielsen and Miller have largely been the public face of the administration’s controversial “zero tolerance” policy and separation of immigrant families who cross the US-Mexico border illegally. The Deparment of Homeland Security said late Saturday it reunited 522 immigrant children who were separated from their families, and still has roughly 1,500 kids to locate and reunite.