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DON RIPPERT: Virginia is For Lov . . . Er, Haters. 

Perhaps we need to revisit Virginia’s public accommodation laws. A sad scene unfolded in Lexington, VA last Friday evening.  Sarah Huckabee Sanders, President Trump’s Press Secretary, tried to enjoy a meal with her family at the Red Hen restaurant.  The owner, a New York transplant named Stephanie Wilkinson, asked the Sanders party to leave the restaurant after starting their appetizers.

Wilkinson claims that she spoke with the staff at her restaurant and they jointly decided to ask the Sanders party to leave.  This was done because of Ms. Sanders employment by the Trump Administration. However, Ms. Wilkinson’s account of the event is showing that it is at odds with what really happened.  In an interview with the Washington Post Wilkinson said, “I am not a huge fan of confrontation.” in an effort to justify her confrontation with the Sanders party.

However, subsequent to her Mahatma Gandhi impersonation it has come out that Wilkinson’s confrontation of the Sanders party didn’t stop at the Red Hen restaurant.  During a talk radio interview Sanders’ father, former Governor Huckabee, related the rest of the story.

After being tossed out of the Red Hen Sarah Sanders and her husband left their group.  As the remainder of the group went to another restaurant Wilkinson followed them somehow arranging for people to continue the harassment at the new restaurant.  It seems that Ms Wilkinson is not only a huge fan of confrontation but a huge fan of the liberal art of lying through her teeth as well.

I have looked and found no refutation of Sen Huckabee’s account of the story by Ms Wilkinson.  Following a group of people from restaurant to restaurant is certainly confrontational but is it stalking?  Stalking is a crime in Virginia.  The applicable code can be found here.

Let’s add knucklehead to the list.  The original party at the Red Hen consisted of Ms Sanders, her husband and some of her in-laws.  Her in-laws are described as liberals who do not support the Trump Administration.  Therefore, the people Wilkinson followed and harassed were a bunch of anti-Trump liberals.  So, at the second restaurant, a group of Trump opposing liberals were harassing a group of Trump opposing liberals.  It seems we can safely add knucklehead to the list of adjectives describing Ms Wilkinson.

The other Red Hen.  In the City of Washington, DC there is another Red Hen restaurant with no affiliation to the Red Hen restaurant in Lexington, Va.  People, presumably conservatives, who wanted to counter-protest the actions of Wilkinson managed to become knuckleheads themselves.  The DC-based Red Hen restaurant has been “tarred and feathered” by people trying to protest Ms Sanders’ treatment at a wholly different restaurant located 200 miles away.   Interestingly, Ms Sanders would not have been turned away from the Red Hen in Washington, DC since that city forbids discrimination in a public accommodation based on political affiliation.  You can find the code here.  The city of Seattle and the US Virgin Islands have similar bans on discrimination based on political affiliation.

Has anybody seen my governor?  If Ralph Northam maintained any lower of a profile his face would start appearing on milk cartons trying to locate our lost governor.  The Red Hen incident happened in Virginia.  Where is Virginia’s governor with his take on this?  A web search of “Ralph Northam” and “Red Hen” produces no relevant results.

Is this incident at the Red Hen restaurant how Virginia wants to be seen?  Does public harassment help our “Virginia is for Lovers” image?  I think not.  Should Virginia broaden its public accommodation law to be more like DC, Seattle and the USVI?  I think so.

While I’d hope that proper Virginians wouldn’t bring shame to the Commonwealth by refusing service to somebody based on their political affiliation I have to recognize that carpetbagging asshats like Stephanie Wilkinson will do just that.  Time to squelch this now.

Don Rippert

This column was originally published in Bacon’s Rebellion.

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