White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders’s tweet about a Virginia restaurant which refused to serve her is in violation of U.S. ethics laws, according to a the former director of the U.S. Office of Government Ethics.
Walter Schaub says Sanders’s use of an “official government account to condemn a private business” violates rules on preferential treatment and endorsements.
On Saturday morning, Jaike Foley-Schultz, a waiter at The Red Hen in Lexigton, Va. wrote in a Facebook post, “I just served Sarah Huckabee Sanders for a total of 2 minutes before my owner kicked her out along with 7 of her other family members…”
WATCH: Sarah Sanders remarks on being asked to leave Virginia restaurant, use of work Twitter to comment
He has since made the Facebook post private.
Sanders confirmed the ban via her Twitter account, noting the restaurant owner’s “actions say far more about her than about me.”
The restaurant’s co-owner, Stephanie Wilkinson, told The Washington Post that her staff had called her to report Sanders was in the restaurant. She cited several reasons, including the concerns of several restaurant employees who were gay and knew Sanders had defended Trump’s desire to bar transgender people from the military.
“Tell me what you want me to do. I can ask her to leave,” Wilkinson told her staff, she said. “They said ‘yes.’”
Wilkinson said that she talked to Sanders privately and that Sanders’s response was immediate: “That’s fine. I’ll go.”
In a response to another former member of the Obama administration, Shaub compared the situation to U.S. President Donald Trump’s attack on Nordstrom on Twitter.
In February 2017, Nordstrom announced it would no longer carry Ivanka Trump’s product line, prompting the president to complain on Twitter that the company was treating his daughter unfairly.
*With files from Associated Press