The Slatest

Restaurant Owner Who Booted Sanders Has No Regrets: “I Would Have Done the Same Thing Again”

White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders conducts a White House daily news briefing at the James Brady Press Briefing Room of the White House June 14, 2018 in Washington, D.C.
White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders conducts a White House daily news briefing at the James Brady Press Briefing Room of the White House June 14, 2018 in Washington, D.C.
Alex Wong/Getty Images

Just because the whole thing has been more than a little controversial doesn’t mean that the owner of the Red Hen regrets her decision Friday night to kick out Sarah Huckabee Sanders, the White House press secretary, from her restaurant. The Washington Post talked to Stephanie Wilkinson, who recounted how the whole evening unfolded.

The owner of the tiny, 26-seat restaurant that is located in a small Virginia town around 200 miles from Washington, D.C. says she got the call from the chef at around 8 p.m. Friday. When she decided to go check the scene out for herself she had a moment of doubt about the eight-person table that had been booked under the name of Sanders’ husband. “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.”

She huddled with the staff and they all decided it was best to ask Sanders to leave even though her table had already started eating and the kitchen was preparing their main courses. She asked Sanders for a word in the patio. “I was babbling a little, but I got my point across in a polite and direct fashion,” Wilkinson said. “I explained that the restaurant has certain standards that I feel it has to uphold, such as honesty, and compassion, and cooperation.” She finally asked her to leave and Sanders didn’t push back. The table offered to pay for what they had consumed but Wilkinson refused.

Even though that move has suddenly made her restaurant a target for Trump supporters, Wilkinson said she doesn’t regret what she did. “Absolutely, yes, I would have done the same thing again,” she said. “We just felt there are moments in time when people need to live their convictions. This appeared to be one.”