President Trump on Monday hammered the Virginia restaurant that refused service to White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders, saying the Red Hen should focus instead on cleaning up its "filthy" building.
“The Red Hen Restaurant 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!” Trump tweeted early Monday.
Trump’s tweet comes amid a firestorm over the restaurant's move Friday to throw out Sanders and her family.
TMZ first reported that Sanders was kicked out of the restaurant, which is located in Lexington, Va., on apparent “moral grounds.”
Sanders confirmed the events on Twitter, saying that she was told to leave by the owner because she worked for the president.
“Her actions say far more about her than me,” Sanders said. “I always do my best to treat people, including those I disagree with, respectfully and will continue to do so.”
After initial reports of the incident, users posted on the restaurant’s Facebook and Yelp pages bombarding it with one-star reviews. Some other users praised the restaurant. But the owner's decision was just the latest example of senior Trump administration officials being protested and boycotted at restaurants and other public venues amid the backlash over immigration policies.
Homeland Security Secretary Kirsjen Nielsen was forced out of a Mexican restaurant by left-wing activists protesting family separation at the border last week.
President Trump sought to address the controversy when he ended the practice of separating illegal immigrant families caught crossing the border. But the backlash has persisted, with protesters calling on the administration to curb detentions.
Sanders’ father, former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee, defended his daughter on Twitter and blasted the restaurant.
“Bigotry. On the menu at Red Hen Restaurant in Lexington VA. Or you can ask for the ‘Hate Plate’. And appetizers are ‘small plates for small minds,’” Huckabee tweeted.
Fox News' Adam Shaw contributed to this report.