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.
Bigotry. On the menu at Red Hen Restaurant in Lexington VA. Or you can ask for the “Hate Plate”. And appetizers ar… https://t.co/ed8YPlRcJC
— Gov. Mike Huckabee (@Gov. Mike Huckabee)
A separate restaurant in Washington, also named the Red Hen, posted on social media that it has no affiliation with the restaurant in Virginia.
Good morning! @PressSec went to the unaffiliated @RedHenLex last night, not to our DC-based restaurant.
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.
So this is uncool, but it’s totally fine for a baker to refuse to make a cake for gay people, because of personal c… https://t.co/dr49P9UoVU
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.