Waters Urges More Protests Like Sanders at Restaurant, Others Plead for Civility

White House press secretary was asked to leave Virginia restaurant after protesters chanted DHS director out of another

Rep. Maxine Waters, D-Calif., urged supporters to protest Trump administration officials in public and refuse them service at restaurants and other local businesses. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

At least one Democratic lawmaker is encouraging her supporters to rise up in spontaneous protest and refuse service to members of President Donald Trump’s cabinet, the way press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders was ousted from a Lexington, Virginia, restaurant last week.

But other Democrats decried the episode, urging their constituents not to discriminate against patrons, even if they disagree with their politics.

California Rep. Maxine Waters told supporters at a rally Sunday to continue protesting Trump officials in public and refusing to let them be served at local businesses.

“If you see anybody from that cabinet in a restaurant, in a department store, at a gasoline station, you get out and you create a crowd and you push back on them, and you tell them they’re not welcome anymore, anywhere,” Waters said.

Waters’ House colleagues, including her fellow Democrats, disagreed with her, though.

“The restaurant owner should have served her,” Democratic Rep. Elijah Cummings of Maryland said. But he added that the president himself had created an environment of incivility that led to the event.

“Since he became president and even before, he has basically given people license to state things that are ugly,” Cummings said.

Sanders is not the first Trump official to face a backlash away from the office.

Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen was driven from a Washington Mexican restaurant last week after protesters entered the restaurant and shouted at her for roughly 10 minutes.

The protesters were criticizing Nielsen for defending the Trump administration’s immigration policies, including a enforcing a rule that separated children from their parents if their parents entered the country illegally.

And on Friday, a group of protesters assembled outside Nielsen’s home in Virginia shouting “No justice, no sleep!”

GOP Sen. Orrin Hatch of Utah wrote an op-ed over the weekend asking Americans to rediscover civility.

“This is a very bad, dangerous idea,” Hatch tweeted Sunday, responding to Waters’ speech.

“Debate and even disagreement is critical to the American experiment. But when we stop seeing the humanity in the other side, we all lose,” he wrote.

Trump also weighed in on the recent spate of protests against his cabinet members and Sanders’ ouster at the Red Hen restaurant in Virginia, adding personal barbs at the restaurant over its cleanliness.

“The Red Hen Restaurant should focus more on cleaning its filthy canopies, doors and windows (badly needs a paint job) rather than refusing to serve a fine person like Sarah Huckabee Sanders,” the president tweeted.

Get breaking news alerts and more from Roll Call on your iPhone or your Android.