Woman who kicked Sarah Sanders out of her restaurant defends Chicago cocktail waitress who spat on Eric Trump
The Virginia restaurant owner who told former White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders to leave her restaurant last year is now defending the Chicago cocktail lounge employee who spat on Eric Trump's face last week.
Stephanie Wilkinson says that politicians "spreading hate" should consider dining at home.
Last year, she grabbed national attention after booting Sanders out of the Red Hen, her restaurant in Lexington, Virginia, Daily Mail reports.
The restaurant owner is now backing the unidentified server at The Aviary—an upscale cocktail bar in Chicago—who was briefly detained by the Secret Service after she spat on Eric Trump's face as soon as he entered Tuesday night.
According to Wilkinson, restaurants are "a part of the soundstage for our ongoing national spectacle."
"Whether the bar or restaurant serves merely as the backdrop... or takes an active role in the drama, as was the case with Cracker Barrel, Aviary or my restaurant last June, the business involved inevitably comes under attack," Wilkinson wrote in an op-ed for the Washington Post published Friday.
"A portion of the public will scold owners and managers about 'staying in their lane' and express chagrin at the loss of a perceived 'politics-free zone'."
Wilkinson said eateries have the right to refuse service, despite an open policy that makes it illegal to deny the same to someone based on their race, religion, or nationality.
"If you're an unsavory individual—of whatever persuasion or affiliation—we have no legal or moral obligation to do business with you," she said.
The high-profile clashes, she added, had little to do with the meals but were more about the restaurant employees.
"It’s more often a frustrated person (some of whom are restaurant employees) lashing out at the representatives of an administration that has made its name trashing norms and breaking backs," she said. "Not surprising, if you think about it: You can’t call people your enemies by day and expect hospitality from them in the evening."
In conclusion, Wilkinson said there will be less of "highly charged encounters" making headlines when the world returns to "its normal axis."
"In the meantime, the new rules apply. If you’re directly complicit in spreading hate or perpetuating suffering, maybe you should consider dining at home," she said. "For the rest, your table is waiting."
Wilkinson received major backlash after kicking Sanders out of the Red Hen in June 2018 when she arrived at the restaurant with seven family members.
In response to the incident, Sanders tweeted saying she "politely left" and that "[Wilkinson's] 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."
Interestingly, Wilkinson claimed her employees took a vote before asking Sanders to leave as they "felt uncomfortable" with her presence.