Virginia restaurant that kicked out Sanders reopens
The Virginia restaurant that made national headlines after its owner asked White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders to leave reopened on Thursday night after being closed for two weeks due to protests.
The Red Hen reopened in Lexington, Va., as dozens of protesters lined up across the street, USA Today reported.
“This’ll be closed within a year!” one man shouted, according to the newspaper.
The restaurant represents a battleground between supporters of President Trump and those who support the owner’s actions, and both protesters and supporters have flocked to the Red Hen in recent days, some hoping for a reservation at the establishment that said “no” to the White House.
“I thought it was very brave what the owner did,” said Don Mandelkorn, who told USA Today that he had hoped to eat at the Red Hen on his way back home to Vermont. “We wanted to support the actions she took.”
The incident prompted a debate over civility in politics and arguments over whether it is appropriate to confront public officials while they are dining out.
Some linked Sanders’s treatment over her actions in the White House to African-Americans denied service due to their race during the civil rights movement.
“What happened to that lady — and I mean lady — should never happen to any human being,” Butch Barley, a protester from Concord, Va., told the paper. “You can only take so much, and I’ve gotten to that point. You back up, you back up, you back up, eventually you’re against a wall.”
“They were getting kicked out of places for the color of their skin, now we have people getting kicked out of restaurants for their political persuasion,” added Paul Brockman, another protester.
Online reviewers were the first to pounce on the restaurant, flooding its Yelp page with one- and five-star reviews within hours of reports that Sanders had been thrown out last month.
Sanders drew further attention to the restaurant when she slammed the owner publicly on her Twitter account, confirming her removal and adding that she would continue to show respect to her political opponents.
“Last night I was told by the owner of Red Hen in Lexington, VA to leave because I work for [Trump] and I politely left,” Sanders tweeted last month. “Her actions say far more about her than about me. I always do my best to treat people, including those I disagree with, respectfully and will continue to do so.”
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