Former President Bill Clinton said Tuesday night that he had “a lot of respect” for the way White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders handled being kicked out of a Virginia restaurant due to her role in the Trump administration.
“She didn’t chew them out. She didn’t pitch a fit. She didn’t call them immigrant-loving thugs, or whatever. She just got up and left and offered to pay,” the 42nd president told “Daily Show” host Trevor Noah.
Mrs. Sanders and her family were forced to leave the Red Hen restaurant in Lexington on Friday after the owner, Stephanie Wilkinson, objected to what she described as divisive policies by the Trump administration. Ms. Wilkinson said she asked Mrs. Sanders to step aside for a word in private and then respectfully asked her to leave. Mrs. Sanders later wrote on Twitter that she left “politely.”
Mr. Clinton said it was ultimately up to the business owner to decide who to serve, but that it shouldn’t have escalated to that point.
“That’s a decision for the restaurant owner to make. What I’d like to point out is would it be better if that didn’t happen? I think it would,” Mr. Clinton said. “But you know, a lot of poison has been poured down America’s throat since that 2016 campaign started.
“So it’s hard to pour poison down other people’s throat and not have some of it come back up and bubble up,” he added, speaking about President Trump.
Mr. Clinton went on to say that he respected the way both women conducted themselves.
“I also had a lot of respect for the way Sarah Huckabee Sanders handled it,” he said. “I mean, she was very dignified.”
However, Mr. Clinton said civility needed to start with the White House.
“You can’t foment as much hatred as has been fomented by the administration without having a blowback,” he said. “So if they want to have more civility they need to stop the name-calling and take the lead.”
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