The Virginia restaurant owner who asked White House press secretary Sarah Sanders to leave because she works for President Donald Trump has resigned from the top post of a local business group, CNN affiliates WDBJ and WSLS report.
Stephanie Wilkinson, who co-owns Red Hen in Lexington, stepped down as executive director of Main Street Lexington, the group’s president, Elizabeth Outland Branner, told the stations.
“Considering the events of the past weekend, Stephanie felt it best, that for the continued success of Main Street Lexington, she should step aside,” Branner said.
Main Street Lexington is a volunteer organization that promotes the city’s businesses.
Sanders tweeted Saturday she’d been “told by the owner of Red Hen in Lexington, VA to leave because I work for @POTUS and I politely left.”
‘I want the business to thrive’
Wilkinson told The Washington Post in an interview Saturday that she asked Sanders to leave at the request of her staff and “would have done the same thing again.”
She added that she is “not a huge fan of confrontation,” noting, “I have a business, and I want the business to thrive.”
However, she also said, “This feels like the moment in our democracy when people have to make uncomfortable actions and decisions to uphold their morals.”
“I explained that the restaurant has certain standards that I feel it has to uphold, such as honesty, and compassion, and cooperation,” she recalled to The Post.
CNN has reached out to Wilkinson for comment.
Trump, still in the throes of criticism over his administration’s tamped-down family separation policy, tweeted early Monday about Sander’s Red Hen experience.
Sanders was expected to receive Secret Service protection as soon as Wednesday, two sources familiar with the decision told CNN.