President Donald Trump defended press secretary Sarah Sanders on Monday by attacking the Virginia restaurant that asked the White House spokeswoman to leave the premises.
"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," Trump said. "I always had a rule, if a restaurant is dirty on the outside, it is dirty on the inside!"
It's unclear where Trump got his claims about the restaurant based in Lexington, Va., but it has been attacked on social media reviews by Trump's supporters since the incident that happened Friday night. Trump critics have rallied behind the Red Hen, giving it high ratings on some of those same restaurant review websites.
The flap has triggered an intense debate about the loss of political civility, with some Trump critics defending the restaurant owner's decision because of opposition to Trump's crackdown on immigration and other policies.
Some Trump critics on Twitter pointed out that his restaurant at the Mar-a-Lago estates in Palm Beach, Fla., has been cited for health code violations.
The restaurant owner, Stephanie Wilkinson, defended her decision to ask Sanders to leave, telling The Washington Post that she explained to the press secretary that "the restaurant has certain standards that I feel it has to uphold, such as honesty, and compassion, and cooperation."
In a tweet, Sanders said the owner'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."