OPINION: Red Hen owner acted irresponsibly ejecting Sarah Sanders from restaurant

On Saturday, White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders was kicked out of The Red Hen restaurant in Lexington, Va., apparently due to some of the Trump administration’s policies.

Stephanie Wilkinson, owner of the establishment, told the Washington Post she received a phone call around 8 p.m. that night from one of her employees stating Sanders had just walked in and the staff was concerned.

“I’m not a huge fan of confrontation,” Wilkinson said. “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.”

Wilkinson took it upon herself to ask Sanders to leave after politely asking to speak with her on the patio of the restaurant. The owner told the press secretary her accompanying party could stay. Showing their support of Sanders, however, they all left.

A day after the occurrence, Sanders tweeted her response to Wilkinson’s actions:


While Wilkinson’s actions toward Sanders has been harshly criticized as well as supported, the fallout from President Trump’s “Zero Tolerance” immigration policy at the U.S. southern border may have also been a factor besides her explanation the administration’s military transgender ban was the main impetus.

Prior to the Sanders incident, Trump signed an executive order allowing families to stay together, possibly from political pressure. So, in all fairness did Wilkinson’s decision change anything?

Here’s an example of two commonly held opposing views about the incident expressed via Twitter:

“It’s about time she be held accountable for all of her lies and her bullying attitude. People are fed up and the revolt is happening”

— @greg_munro

“If I lived in VA, I would be the first person to boycott this restaurant. So sorry for the rudeness you had to endure.”

— @CarolFormato

This writer couldn’t help but to find herself in the odd position of sticking up for Sec. Sanders. For example, if one was to ever walk into a Hobby Lobby store with an opposing view on birth control, it would be monstrous of the owner of the chain to ask that person to leave.

As a restaurant owner, Wilkinson should understand that opening a restaurant means you’re welcoming the public to your establishment regardless of their politics. Excluding those who are disruptive to business, no matter your stance on any political matter, all citizens should be able to enjoy a public place without your opinions being judged.

Just as a gay couple should be allowed to check into any hotel and an individual who is pro-choice should be allowed to go to a store owned by someone who thinks abortion is murder, Sarah Sanders should be able to eat anywhere she’d like.

If not warmly welcomed, the least Wilkinson could have done was let Sanders dine at her establishment without incident.

It’s very easy to get caught up in disliking people due to their beliefs, even to the point of becoming bitter rivals, but at the end of the day we need to act responsibly and respect those with differing views.


[Photo courtesy Patriotic Express]