Trump: 'Dirty' restaurant that refused to serve Sanders 'needs a paint job'

President TrumpDonald TrumpTrump mocks Murkowski, Cheney election chances Race debate grips Congress US reentry to Paris agreement adds momentum to cities' sustainability efforts MORE on Monday ripped the Virginia restaurant that refused to serve his press secretary over the weekend, saying it is "dirty" and "needs a paint job."

The tweet represented Trump's first remarks about Red Hen restaurant in Lexington, Va., which over the weekend won headlines across the country when its owner asked Trump press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders to leave. 

“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," the president wrote on Twitter.

"I always had a rule, if a restaurant is dirty on the outside, it is dirty on the inside!"


State inspection records show that the Red Hen received a clean bill of health earlier this year.

The president's tweet comes after Sanders confirmed over the weekend that the owner of the restaurant asked her to leave while she dined out with a group of people. 

The incident sparked a firestorm and highlighted the nation's political polarization in the age of Trump.

"Last night I was told by the owner of Red Hen in Lexington, VA to leave because I work for @POTUS and I politely left. Her actions say far more about her than about me," Sanders wrote on Twitter Saturday. "I always do my best to treat people, including those I disagree with, respectfully and will continue to do so."

The owner of the restaurant, Stephanie Wilkinson, told The Washington Post that she asked Sanders to leave the establishment.

“I explained that the restaurant has certain standards that I feel it has to uphold, such as honesty, and compassion, and cooperation,” Wilkinson told the Post, adding that Sanders quickly agreed to leave.

The incident with Sanders occurred the same week that protesters confronted Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen NielsenKirstjen Michele NielsenLeft-leaning group to track which companies hire former top Trump aides Rosenstein: Zero tolerance immigration policy 'never should have been proposed or implemented' House Republican condemns anti-Trump celebrities during impeachment hearing MORE at a Washington, D.C., restaurant over the administration’s immigration policy.

A heckler also targeted White House senior adviser Stephen Miller in a separate incident at a D.C. restaurant last week, according to the New York Post.

All three of the incidents come as the Trump administration grapples with the fallout from its "zero tolerance" immigration policy at the southern border, which has inflamed tensions about its policies.

Attorney General Jeff SessionsJefferson (Jeff) Beauregard SessionsBiden picks vocal Trump critics to lead immigration agencies The Hill's Morning Report - Biden assails 'epidemic' of gun violence amid SC, Texas shootings Biden administration should resist 'slush-fund' settlements MORE instructed the Justice Department in April to prosecute all individuals crossing the border illegally, which caused the separation of children from their families.

Amid mounting political pressure, Trump last week signed an executive order allowing families to remain together.

The decision to boot Sanders from a restaurant has been supported in some quarters and harshly criticized in others.

Rep. Maxine WatersMaxine Moore WatersMaxine Waters: 'Hard to believe' officer meant to use Taser on Daunte Wright Boehner finally calls it as he sees it 10 Democrats join NAACP lawsuit against Trump MORE (D-Calif.) encouraged people to confront Trump administration officials over the separations of families if they see them in public.

“If you see anybody from that cabinet in a restaurant, in a department store, at a gasoline station, you get out and you create a crowd, and you push back on them, and you tell them they’re not welcome anymore, anywhere,” she said. 

House Democratic Leader Nancy PelosiNancy PelosiWatchdog: Capitol Police need 'culture change' Julia Letlow sworn in as House member after winning election to replace late husband The Hill's 12:30 Report: Biden defends Afghanistan withdrawal after pushback MORE (D-Calif.), however, pushed back on that approach on Monday.

"In the crucial months ahead, we must strive to make America beautiful again. Trump’s daily lack of civility has provoked responses that are predictable but unacceptable. As we go forward, we must conduct elections in a way that achieves unity from sea to shining sea," Pelosi said in a tweet.

Updated at 12:10 p.m.