Social media were buzzing with fallout Sunday from Sarah Huckabee Sanders' unceremonious eviction from a Virginia restaurant as the divisive debate over "zero tolerance" immigration policy and other issues spill into the everyday lives of the people who promote them.
The Facebook page for the Red Hen in Lexington was awash with commentary, much of it bitterly criticizing owner Stephanie Wilkinson's decision Friday night to boot the White House press secretary from the premises in the rustic community almost 200 miles southwest of Washington.
"Showing the true love and tolerance of the Left," commented Rick Elliott. "May you become a center of a physical disease to match your moral rot."
Derek Lauer was a bit more analytical. He suggested the confrontation between Wilkinson and Sanders was a "lost opportunity" for honest discourse on contentious issues.
"When one refuses to listen to the other side they become ignorant to learning and refuse to become well rounded," Lauer posted. "They could have invited her to tell her side of the story and she could have listened to their concerns. Lost opportunity."
Some people posted support for the restaurant, however. John Helfrich cited a recent Supreme Court ruling in favor of a Colorado baker who refused to bake a wedding cake for a gay couple.
"If it's OK for a baker to refuse service to LGBTQ because of their sexual identification, then why shouldn't it be OK for a restaurant to refuse service because of their political identification?" Helfrich said in his post.
On Twitter, some social commentators took to dark humor. Mary Tyler Moreno posted this missive: "Chili’s - “I want my baby back baby back baby back, no my actual baby back.” #Restaurants4Sarah"
Wilkinson told The Washington Post that her staff called her at home to ask what to do after Sanders entered the small, farm-to-table eatery. She said some staffers have problems with the Trump administration on gay rights and other issues.
Wilkinson said she told Sanders the restaurant must uphold standards such as honesty, compassion and cooperation.
"I would have done the same thing again," Wilkinson told the Post. "We just felt there are moments in time when people need to live their convictions. This appeared to be one."
Sanders took the high road in on Twitter after the incident.
"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," Sanders tweeted. "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."
Grabbing a bite to eat has become a problem for some members of the Trump administration since the zero tolerance policy for undocumented immigrants resulted in children being separated from their parents at the border. Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen was hounded by protesters at a Mexican restaurant near the White House last week.
“We will not stand by and let Secretary Nielsen dine in peace, while she is directing her employees to tear little girls away from their mothers and crying boys away from their fathers at our border,” said Margaret McLaughlin, a member of Metro D.C. Democratic Socialists of America.