Why Trump Officials Don’t Deserve to Eat in Peace

Sarah Huckabee Sanders, Kirstjen Nielsen and Stephen Miller have all been heckled at restaurants or asked to leave over the past week. Critics claim that this treatment is unfair and insist that the Trump team should be allowed to eat in peace.

But these three individuals are deeply involved in Trump’s cruel behavior toward immigrants, angering people across the U.S.

On Friday, June 22, Trump’s press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders was politely asked to leave the Red Hen restaurant in Lexington, Virginia. 

Stephanie Wilkinson, the owner of the restaurant, spoke with her servers, who had recognized the woman in the black dress and felt uncomfortable catering to someone who had spent the week defending Trump’s decision to separate children from their parents at the U.S.-Mexico border.

Wilkinson decided to take action, stating

I’m not a huge fan of confrontation. 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 our morals.

In spite of feeling very tense, Wilkinson knew she had to stand strong: “I explained that the restaurant has certain standards that I feel it has to uphold, such as honesty, and compassion, and cooperation.”

These are definitely not qualities exemplified by Sanders.

A few days earlier, Kirstjen Nielsen, Trump’s secretary of Homeland Security, was forced to leave an upscale Mexican restaurant not far from the White House, after protestors confronted her with “If kids don’t eat in peace, you don’t eat in peace!”

White House advisor Stephen Miller received similar treatment at a D.C. Mexican restaurant when a heckler called him a fascist. Apparently Miller scurried away, but he didn’t leave.

These three White House employees have chosen to be part of Trump’s bigotry, xenophobia and lies. No one forced them to work for Trump; they made that choice.

As Dean Obeldallah writes:

The people who heckled Secretary Nielsen didn’t yell: “Get out of here because you’re a Republican.” No, their chants were very specific to Trump’s family separation immigration policy she had been publicly defending just days before, telling Nielsen: “Do you hear the babies crying?”

Speaking Truth to Power

We all need to follow the example of Stephanie Wilkerson and speak truth to power. If we pretend that these members of Trump’s administration are just public servants doing their job, then we are normalizing the president’s behavior: stripping away health care, using “animals” and “infestation” to describe immigrants, caging children, destroying the environment and enriching himself and his buddies.

This is not normal or acceptable, and we cannot remain silent. To those who say we should let the Trump team eat in peace, or accuse protestors of a lack of decorum, let’s be clear. The right to dissent is an integral part of a democracy, but it is a right that Trump himself has repeatedly sought to deny. 

Remember his comments at a pre-election rally, where he spoke fondly of the “old days” when a protester would have been hit in the face and “carried out on a stretcher.”

Under his push to “open up our libel laws,” at least 18 states have proposed legislation designed to stifle protestors.

With his latest tweet about the Red Hen, Trump is continuing his pattern of both silencing dissent and singling out specific companies for attacks.

It began with Sanders’ tweet from her White House account:

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. I always do my best to treat people, including those I disagree with, respectfully and will continue to do so.

In response, Walter Shaub, who headed the U.S. Office of Government Ethics for five years, before quitting a year ago, posted this tweet:

Sarah, I know you don’t care a tiny little bit about the ethics rules, but using your official account for this is a clear violation of 5 CFR 2635. 702(a). It’s the same as if an ATF agent pulled out his badge when a restaurant tried to throw him/her out.

Richard Painter, chief ethics lawyer in the George W. Bush administration, agrees“It is a violation of federal securities laws to knowingly, or with extreme recklessness, make false statements about a publicly held company when you know that could impact the stock price,” he said in a radio interview with the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation.

Yet Trump repeatedly made such statements, tweeting complaints about The Washington Post, Amazon, General Motors, Nordstrom — and now the Red Hen.

Red Hen Restaurants Bombarded With Death Threats

Quartz reports:

It’s going to be a tough week for the twenty restaurants, bakeries and coffee houses in the United States with “Red Hen” in their name. Over the weekend, several were bombarded with death threats, nasty online reviews, and even eggs.

Trump made the situation even worse with this tweet:

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

In fact, Red Hen passed its last inspection with flying colors, while the most recent report for the Trump International Hotel noted that it was out of compliance in nine categories. And Trump’s Mar-a-Lago has been cited by health inspectors 78 times in three years.

As already mentioned, it’s illegal for the president to promote or disparage an individual company, but that hasn’t prevented Trump from attacking large corporations. And now the 29 million small businesses in the U.S. can also fear Trump’s attacks.

With Republicans in Congress doing nothing to prevent Trump’s immoral and illegal behavior, we who passionately oppose his policies must speak up — whether civilly or not. This is our right as U.S. citizens.

Photo Credit: Fabrice Florin/Flickr

88 comments

Shirley P
Shirley Plowman11 days ago

CONSEQUENCES FOR DESTRUCTION OF OUR DEMOCRACY ON A DAILY BASIS.

SEND
Susanne R
Susanne R16 days ago

It's a good thing for trump that the Colonel (KFC) has a drive-through window! Too bad his 10-car escort of Secret Sservice agents causes such a long wait for other customers.

SEND
Paul B
Paul B16 days ago

The left, forever a "Do as say, not as I do" group of ideologues. So much for the days when we could actually be civil and discuss our differences rather than today the left is nothing short of eliminating anyone who disagrees.

SEND
silja salonen
silja salonen16 days ago

why are they upset? they are free to get up and leave (with their children i might add) they are not in cages nor are they detained. they are the " baba yaga " of american today

SEND
Kathy G
Kathy G16 days ago

Thank you

SEND
John W
John W16 days ago

More evil tactics from the hard left...

SEND
Shirley Plowman
Shirley Plowman18 days ago

THEY DESERVE NO PLACE TO ESCAPE TO, THEY MUST BE ACCOUNTABLE 24/7.

SEND
Deborah W
Deborah W20 days ago

Wilkinson, private business owner, certainly has free choice to follow her own convictions ... and promote those standards of honesty, compassion and cooperation as she sees fit -- AS ARE SARAH HUCKABEE SANDERS, KIRSTJEN NIELSEN AND STEPHEN MILLER. Seen as another possible Trump dump by haters who can't yet wrap their head around the loss, these incidents were quickly picked up by haters intent on destroying THE MAN, and in the process this presidency. TRUTH TO POWER COMES FROM CONSEQUENCES TO ACTIONS THAT SHOW TANGIBLE RESULTS, NOT VAGUE EMPTY HALF-TRUTHS WOVEN TOGETHER WITH PHOTOGRAPHS. When things that have gotten as out of hand as they currently have, time to step up and control, BEFORE ALINSKI-TYPE PROTESTS BECOME THE CIVIL UNREST THAT REQUIRES MILITARY INTERVENTION. I personally welcome that Trump is now doing something about it.

SEND
Pam Bruce
Pam Bruce20 days ago

How can these people live with themselves? They need to be shamed. Thanks to all who do it.

SEND
Chad Anderson
Chad Anderson20 days ago

Thank you.

SEND