People were quick to take sides over Sanders's treatment at the Red Hen, a cozy, upscale venue that serves farm-to-table regional food including trout grenobloise, braised leg of lamb, and peach and blackberry shortcake.
"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)", he tweeted on Saturday.
Mike Huckabee, a former Arkansas governor and Republican presidential candidate, came to his daughter's defense, saying on Twitter that the incident was one of "bigotry", and that Red Hen's appetizers were "small plates for small minds".
After reports emerged that Sanders was asked to leave the restaurant, she tweeted through her government account that Wilkinson's actions "say far more about her than about me". "I'm anxious about the African-American kid in school who gets harassed by kids who think they have a license to harass because the President says so", said the former Secretary of Commerce. The Facebook post for the New Jersey-based Red Hen has attracted more than 600 comments, with many respondents arguing among themselves about the merits of asking Sanders to leave-again, something this particular restaurant did not do. "I always do my best to treat people, including those I disagree with, respectfully and will continue to do so", Sanders tweeted.
Wilkinson said she told Sanders: "I explained that the restaurant has certain standards that I feel it has to uphold, such as honesty, and compassion, and cooperation". She herself believes that Sanders works in the service of an "inhumane and unethical" administration defending the president's "cruelest" policies.
"But this tone is frightful".
Instead, the former Fortune 500 company CEO expressed concern about racial and ethnic minority children growing up in the United States with President Donald Trump in office.
"Tell me what you want me to do".
Wilkinson said she took a staff vote before asking Sanders to leave. A group of young socialists who organizing the heckling - led by a paralegal who works for the justice department - called for similar protests against administration officials over its immigration policy.
"I'm not a huge fan of confrontation", Wilkinson told the newspaper.
In Washington, D.C., a Red Hen restaurant has been trying to convince swarms of online haters that they have the wrong establishment, going so far as to tweet out a screenshot containing the definition of the word "unaffiliated".