Congresswoman Demands Ethics Probe Into Sarah Huckabee Sanders' Restaurant Tweet
At least one lawmaker has formally called for an ethics investigation into Sarah Huckabee Sanders' tweet telling the story of how she got kicked out of a Virginia restaurant.
The White House press secretary reported that she had been turned away from a restaurant on Friday because she works for President Donald Trump. On Sunday, a Democratic congresswoman demanded an ethics investigation into Sanders' tweet about the incident — because it came from her official Twitter account.
Rep. Barbara Lee (D-Calif.) called it "disgusting" that Sanders would share her experience, and suggested her story was a malicious attack against an innocent private business.
Sanders "used her government account for taking on this private restaurant, a private business," Lee said. "So I personally think she should be referred to the office of government ethics."
Lee went on, saying that she considers Sanders' tweet "unethical."
"Yeah, if you use a government account to attack a private business on personal time, that's not right," she concluded.
Was the press secretary attacking a private business, however? Let's see what Sarah Huckabee Sanders actually said.
"Last night I was told by the owner of Red Hen in Lexington, VA to leave because I work for [President Trump] 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."
Stephanie Wilkinson, the restaurant's owner, told The Washington Post she would "absolutely" do the same thing again. "I explained that the restaurant has certain standards that I feel it has to uphold, such as honesty, and compassion, and cooperation....I said, 'I'd like to ask you to leave.'"
"We just felt there are moments in time when people need to live their convictions. This appeared to be one," Wilkinson added.
Even though Sanders did not explicitly attack the restaurant, Congresswoman Lee was not the first to suggest the press secretary had violated ethics rules in reporting the incident.
"Sarah, I know you don’t care even a tiny little bit about the ethics rules, but using your official account for this is a clear violation of 5 CFR 2635.702(a)," argued Walter Shaub, former director of the Office of Government Ethics. "It’s the same as if an ATF agent pulled out his badge when a restaurant tried to throw him/her out."