WASHINGTON, June 23 (Xinhua) -- White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said Saturday that a restaurant had refused service to her because of her work with the U.S. administration, sparking a fierce debate online.
"Last night I was told by the owner of Red Hen in Lexington, Virginia to leave because I work for @POTUS and I politely left. Her actions say far more about her than about me," Sanders said in a tweet, referring to President Donald Trump of the United States with the acronym.
"I always do my best to treat people, including those I disagree with, respectfully and will continue to do so," Sanders said in the tweet.
Stephanie Wilkinson, the owner of the restaurant, gave U.S. media a similar but more detailed account of the event.
Wilkinson said that she was notified of Sanders' visit to her restaurant by her staff, who expressed concern over Sanders' stance on politically charged issues, such as gay rights.
After consulting with her staff, Wilkinson took Sanders aside and asked her to leave, which she did.
Sanders' company followed her out, and was not charged for the food they were served before their departure.
Wilkinson said the whole episode had been cordial. But after Sanders announced the incident on Twitter, Wilkinson's restaurant has become the epicenter of controversy, with some applauding her for making a stance, and others criticizing her for mixing politics with service.
"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,'" Mike Huckabee, Sanders' father and former governor of Arkansas state, tweeted in defense of his daughter.