White House press secretary Sarah Sanders said she was asked to leave a Virginia restaurant by its owner because she works for the Trump administration.
Sanders made the claim in a tweet, in which she suggested the incident “says far more about” the restaurant’s owner, who asked her to leave, than her.
But the owner, Stephanie Wilkinson, told The Washington Post in an interview that she "would have done the same thing again".
Wilkinson told the Post that she asked Sanders to leave at the request of her staff.
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.'
Unsurprisingly in a country as politically divided as America, Wilkinson’s decision has resulted in both backlash and praise. The restaurant’s Yelp page has been flooded with both 1 star and 5 star reviews.
Sanders' father, former Arkansas governor Mike Huckabee, called it "bigotry" on Twitter.
A separate restaurant in Washington, also named the Red Hen, posted on social media that it has no affiliation with the restaurant in Virginia.
But others praised the move. Twitter users were quick to point out that the Trump administration supports the right to discriminate against people based on “religious belief or moral conviction”. A well-known example of this happened just a few weeks ago, when the US Supreme Court ruled that a baker had a constitutional right to refuse service to a gay couple seeking a cake for their wedding.
While others simply put this down to the fact that, while freedom of speech and expression may seem like easy concepts, they are hard to put into practice.
Sanders’ ejection comes after other officials were confronted over Trump’s immigration policy as they dined out this week.
On Tuesday, people booed and shouted at Department of Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen as she dined at a Mexican restaurant in Washington, DC, expressing anger at Trump’s border policy that separated children from their parents.