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Trump tells Virginia restaurant to clean its 'filthy canopies' after it ejected Sarah Huckabee Sanders

The Red Hen restaurant in downtown Lexington has got the sharp end of the US president's tongue after it asked his press secretary to leave PICTURE: Daniel Lin/AP)
Jill Colvin

US PRESIDENT Donald Trump has criticised a Virginia restaurant which asked his press secretary, Sarah Huckabee Sanders, to leave because she worked for his administration.

Mr Trump said in a tweet that The Red Hen restaurant in Lexington, Virginia, "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".

"I always had a rule, if a restaurant is dirty on the outside, it is dirty on the inside!" added Mr Trump, who has in the past said he prefers eating at fast food chains rather than independent eateries because he trusts them more over germs.

Images of the restaurant, a three-hour-drive from Washington, appear to show no evidence of serious disrepair, with clean-looking green awnings and white paint on the doors and trim.

Ms Sanders tweeted over the weekend that she was asked to leave the restaurant by its owner on Friday evening because she worked for Mr Trump.

She said she "politely left" and that the owner's "actions say far more about her than about me".

The restaurant's co-owner, Stephanie Wilkinson, did not immediately respond to a request for comment Monday, but she told The Washington Post that her reasons for booting out Ms Sanders included the concerns of employees who were gay and knew she had defended Mr Trump's desire to bar transgender people from serving in the military.

Several other Trump administration officials, including Homeland Security secretary Kirstjen Nielsen, have been confronted in public in recent days amid intense fury over an administration policy that led to a spike in the number of migrant children being separated from their parents after crossing the border illegally.

Ms Nielsen cut short a working dinner at a Mexican restaurant last week after protesters shouted, "Shame!" until she left.

Trump policy adviser Stephen Miller was accosted by someone at a different Mexican restaurant, who called him "a fascist," according to the New York Post.

The displays of hostility have set off a fierce debate about whether politics should play a role in how administration officials are treated in public, with Ms Sanders's father, former Arkansas governor Mike Huckabee, denouncing his daughter's treatment as "bigotry".

Meanwhile president Trump has said the legal due process given to people caught trying to cross the US border illegally is dysfunctional and "not the way to go".

Mr Trump said in a series of tweets that "Hiring manythousands of judges, and going through a long and complicated legal process, is not the way to go - will always be disfunctional".

He said people trying to gain entry "must simply be stopped at the Border and told they cannot come into the US illegally" and that children should be sent back to their home countries.

"If this is done, illegal immigration will be stopped in it's tracks," the president said.

Mr Trump's comments were similar to those made over the weekend in which he compared people crossing the border to invaders.

He is also complaining about media coverage of his immigration policies, saying they are the "same" as the Obama administration's, although that is not the case.

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