Trump, whose Mar-a-Lago resort was cited for many health violations, says Red Hen should focus on cleaning its filthy windows
Donald Trump belatedly weighed in on the rumbling row over White House press secretary Sarah Sanders ejection from a restaurant in Virginia because she works for the president.
Sanders had tweeted that she had been asked to leave the Red Hen restaurant in Virginia on Friday night. Her reporting of the incident was criticised by ethics experts, who said she should not have used an official government account to personally condemn a private business.
Early on Monday, Trump declared on Twitter: 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.
His post continued: I always had a rule, if a restaurant is dirty on the outside, it is dirty on the inside!
Trump presented no evidence to support his claims.
In 2017, it was revealed that Trumps Mar-a-Lago resort had been cited by Florida officials for 78 health violations in three years, including rust, mould and parasites.
Sanders addressed the incident at the start of Mondays White House press briefing and made a plea for civility. We are allowed to disagree but we should be able to do so freely and without fear of harm, and this goes for all people regardless of politics, she said, reading from prepared remarks.
Some have chosen to push hate and vandalism against the restaurant that I was asked to leave from. A Hollywood actor publicly encouraged people to kidnap my children. And this weekend a member of Congress called for people to push back and make clear to those serving their country in this administration that they are not welcome anywhere, any time for anything.
Actor Peter Fonda apologised last week for tweeting that Trumps 12-year-old son Barron Trump should be ripped from his mothers arms and put in a cage with pedophiles but it was unclear whom Sanders was alleging had threatened her own family. The member of Congress she referred to was Maxine Waters of California, who over the weekend called on supporters to publicly confront members of the Trump administration.
Sanders added: Healthy debate on ideas and political philosophy is important, but the calls for harassment and push for any Trump supporter to avoid the public is unacceptable. America is a great country and our ability to find solutions despite those disagreements is what makes us unique.
But the press secretary then switched from a bipartisan appeal to a plug for her employer: That is exactly what President Trump has done for all Americans by building a booming economy with record low unemployment for African Americans and Hispanics.
Earlier, Trump took his own swipe at Waters, tweeting that she is an extraordinarily low IQ person and: She has just called for harm to supporters, of which there are many, of the Make America Great Again movement. Be careful what you wish for Max!
Sophie Wilkinson, the restaurants owner, told the Washington Post that she asked Sanders to leave, saying the restaurant has certain standards that I feel it has to uphold, such as honesty, and compassion, and cooperation.
Walter Shaub, the federal ethics chief under Barack Obama and briefly Donald Trump and now a fierce critic of the administration, responded: Sanders used her official govt account to condemn a private business for personal reasons she can lob attacks on her own time but not using her official position.
During Mondays briefing, Sanders was asked why she had used her official Twitter account. She said she had already been contacted by more than a dozen reporters and that several media reporters had already been published. It was considered news of the day and I responded in the way I would to any other news of the day story.
The Hartford Courant newspaper on Sunday reported that a restaurant called the Red Hen in Old Saybrook, Connecticut, entirely unconnected to the Red Hen restaurant in Lexington, Virginia, where Sanders and her party had been confronted, was being flooded messages from members of the public who support Trump, threatening to organize a boycott and saying things such as: Youre done, and were coming to get you.