A co-owner of a restaurant that refused to serve White House press secretary Sarah Sanders on Friday reportedly cited morality and living up to “certain standards,” as the reason why.
Stephanie Wilkinson recalled the moments leading up to the encounter in an interview with the Washington Post, starting with a phone conversation she had with an employee, who revealed that Sanders was dining at the Red Hen in Lexington, Va.
After her chef reportedly told her that “the staff is a little concerned,” Wilkinson left her home and headed for the restaurant.
“I’m not a huge fan of confrontation,” Wilkinson told the Post. “I have a business, and I want the business to thrive.”
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“This feels like the moment in our democracy when people have to make uncomfortable actions and decisions to uphold their morals,” she continued. She also reportedly described the actions of Trump’s White House as “inhumane and unethical.”
“This feels like the moment in our democracy when people have to make uncomfortable actions and decisions to uphold their morals.”
After arriving, Wilkinson recalled to the Post that Sanders’ party had some appetizers on the table, but had not yet received their entrees. She said she spoke to her employees, asking them how they wanted her to move forward.
“I can ask her to leave,” she suggested to the staff, according to the Post.
“Yes,” the employees replied.
Wilkinson then told the Post that she approached Sanders, introduced herself, then asked Sanders to “come out to the patio” to talk.
“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,” before saying, “I’d like to ask you to leave.”
“I was babbling a little, but I got my point across in a polite and direct fashion. I explained that the restaurant has certain standards that I feel it has to uphold.”
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She reportedly said the press secretary replied simply by saying “That’s fine. I’ll go,” before she and her entire party left the restaurant.
Wilkinson told the Post that the Sanders group had “offered to pay,” but Wilkinson declined, telling them that there was no charge for their order.
Following the exchange, TMZ reported that Sanders was kicked out of the restaurant on “moral grounds” and cited a waiter who said that Sanders was served “for a total of two minutes before my owner kicked her out along with seven of her other family members.”
Sanders confirmed the events on Twitter, saying she was told to leave by the owner because she worked for the president.
“Her actions say far more about her than about me,” she tweeted. “I always do my best to treat people, including those I disagree with, respectfully and will continue to do so.”
Looking back, Wilkinson told the Post, she “would have done the same thing again.”
Meanwhile, an unaffiliated restaurant in Washington, also called the Red Hen, was working to convince customers that it was not involved in the Sanders dispute, which took place in Virginia.
Fox News’ Adam Shaw contributed to this report.
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