President Trump has tried to Twitter-bully a Virginia restaurant that asked White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders to leave, but it is not going great.
In case you overlooked what kicked off this week’s half-hearted media hand-wringing about civility: Last weekend, Sanders decided to dine with a group at the Red Hen, a well-reviewed D.C. area restaurant. After she and her party were seated, the restaurant owner surmised that her staff felt uncomfortable about serving Sanders in the wake of her frequently uncivil defense of President Trump’s child-separation policy from the White House podium. She polled the staff, which voted to eject Sanders. The owner then asked Sanders to leave, then comped her party’s already-ordered appetizer.
This apparent atrocity caused Sanders, then Trump, to weigh in 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. I always had a rule, if a restaurant is dirty on the outside, it is dirty on the inside!” Trump wrote.
Twitter then pointed out:
a) Trump violated government ethics rules by speaking out against a private business;
p.s. Trump’s Red Hen rant would also violate the misuse of position regulation, if he followed the tradition of trying to act as though it applied. But this walking conflict of interest has chosen to hold himself to a lower standard than the federal workforce he supervises.
— Walter Shaub (@waltshaub) June 25, 2018
b) Trump’s Mar-a-Lago restaurant was once cited for 15 health-code violations, while the Red Hen had a sparkling record;
Perhaps you should clean up your side of the street before making up claims on others.
— MurphInLA ? (@AltFactsMurph) June 25, 2018
And Trump’s properties have a long record of health-code violations;
If you’re keeping track at home, there are at least this many violations:
Trump Tower: 4
Trump Intl Hotel & Tower: 1
Trump SoHo: 8
Trump Cafe & Grill: 29
Trump Bar: 11
Trump Park Ave: 1
Trump Golf Links at Ferry Point: 14
Trump winery: 1
— VICE News (@vicenews) June 25, 2018
The Red Hen passed its most recent health inspection with flying colors, finding no violations.
“By contrast, the conditions of restaurants at Trump’s hotels and resorts have ranged from moderately unsanitary to outright revolting.” https://t.co/oatjO4maJY
— Kyle Griffin (@kylegriffin1) June 25, 2018
c) Trump Grill, located in Trump Tower, was once called “the worst restaurant in America” by a reviewer;
White House staffers are always welcome at Trump Grill! Whether they’d want to eat there is another story… https://t.co/3lm3q02fZd
— VANITY FAIR (@VanityFair) June 25, 2018
d) All publicity is good publicity. “The name of the game in the restaurant business is getting on the map,” wrote “New York” magazine’s Jonathan Chait. “If Trump’s social media abuse was wildly successful, and it created 100 new Red Hen haters for every one new Red Hen fan, it would still be a big win for the Red Hen, which at this point probably now has a waiting list for reservations longer than Trump’s term in office.”
e) The Trump administration seems to believe that discrimination is A-OK (see: Muslim ban, transgender military ban) — until they believe they’ve been discriminated against. Texas billionaire Mark Cuban joined that chorus in a comment to TMZ: “You can make an argument on both sides,” he said. “More power to [the owners] for sticking up for what they believe in. But on the flip side, you don’t want to extend that to minorities, LGTBQ…it’s hard to know where that fine line is.”