Friday 20 September 2019

Trump ruffles feathers after Red Hen restaurant kicks out Sarah Huckabee Sanders

The White House press secretary was asked to leave The Red Hen in Lexington, Virginia.

Mr Trump criticised the restaurant’s appearance (AP)
Mr Trump criticised the restaurant’s appearance (AP)

By Jill Colvin

US president Donald Trump has criticised a Virginia restaurant which asked his press secretary, Sarah Huckabee Sanders, to leave because she worked for his administration.

Mr Trump said in a tweet that The Red Hen restaurant in Lexington, Virginia, “should focus more on cleaning its filthy canopies, doors and windows (badly needs a paint job) rather than refusing to serve a fine person like Sarah Huckabee Sanders”.

“I always had a rule, if a restaurant is dirty on the outside, it is dirty on the inside!” added Mr Trump, who has in the past said he prefers eating at fast food chains rather than independent eateries because he trusts them more over germs.

Images of the restaurant, a three-hour-drive from Washington, appear to show no evidence of serious disrepair, with clean-looking green awnings and white paint on the doors and trim.

Ms Sanders tweeted over the weekend that she was asked to leave the restaurant by its owner on Friday evening because she worked for Mr Trump.

She said she “politely left” and that the owner’s “actions say far more about her than about me”.

The restaurant’s co-owner, Stephanie Wilkinson, did not immediately respond to a request for comment Monday, but she told The Washington Post that her reasons for booting out Ms Sanders included the concerns of employees who were gay and knew she had defended Mr Trump’s desire to bar transgender people from serving in the military.

Several other Trump administration officials, including Homeland Security secretary Kirstjen Nielsen, have been confronted in public in recent days amid intense fury over an administration policy that led to a spike in the number of migrant children being separated from their parents after crossing the border illegally.

Ms Nielsen cut short a working dinner at a Mexican restaurant last week after protesters shouted, “Shame!” until she left.

Trump policy adviser Stephen Miller was accosted by someone at a different Mexican restaurant, who called him “a fascist,” according to the New York Post.

The displays of hostility have set off a fierce debate about whether politics should play a role in how administration officials are treated in public, with Ms Sanders’s father, former Arkansas governor Mike Huckabee, denouncing his daughter’s treatment as “bigotry”.

PA Media

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