Nielsen and Huckabee-Sanders Served Migrant Cynicism Specials at D.C. Area Restaurants

Nielsen and Huckabee-Sanders Served Migrant Cynicism Specials at D.C. Area Restaurants

Rough week to be a prevaricating female member of the Trump administration – at least those dining in public among the masses.

On Tuesday night, Department of Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen was taught a lesson in self-awareness and PR optics by protestors who encountered the Secretary dining at – of all places – a Mexican restaurant in Washington D.C.. Nielsen of course is one of the heartless enforcers and confederates behind the Trump/Sessions/Stephen Miller “zero tolerance” policy at the southern border, which has ripped thousands of innocent, endangered children from their families. The protestors, equally gifted with truth and rhyme, taunted the Secretary with, “If kids don’t eat in peace, you don’t eat in peace.”

Loquacious in her babbling, fact-free defense of the President’s immigration “policy” in recent weeks, Nielsen suddenly found herself without words against the onslaught of protestors encouraging her to feast on “shame, shame, shame, shame” rather than Mexican cuisine. She bravely and silently fled the scene, returning to the heartless authoritarian cocoon of Trumpland.

Naturally this unsettled so many snowflakes on the right. I mean yes, babies are being cruelly ripped from the arms of parents fleeing danger in Central America, but CAN’T A MORALLY BANKRUPT WHITE WOMAN EAT A FANCY, EXPENSED MEAL IN PEACE?

Margaret McLaughlin, a member of the Democratic Socialists of America, the activist group which posted an 11-minute video of Nielsen’s ordeal, had a somewhat terse response to the conservative outcry. She said in a statement:

“Secretary Nielsen and everyone else who has carried out these brutal and cold-blooded orders to rip apart families should never be allowed to eat and drink in public again…While Secretary Nielsen’s dinner may have been ruined, it is nothing compared to the horrors she has inflicted on innocent families.”

And just this morning, my husband and I awoke to a buzzing Twitterverse, equal parts amused and aghast over reports that Sarah Huckabee Sanders and her family were ejected from a Virginian restaurant last night. As yet, the reports remain unconfirmed (unlike absolutely validated accounts of crying children and babies being imprisoned), but that did not stop right wing allegiants from howling at the moon. Incensed, privileged white lady Sandy Calhoun took to the restaurant’s Facebook page and demonstrated, among other things, that she’s a faithful follower of Dear Leader’s indiscriminate use of exclamation points:

“I live in the Midwest and have already heard what you did to Mrs. Sanders and her party. What a total disgrace you are! Talk about Nazis!! Better check your books. I am certain they won’t be as fruitful as they were before you chose to be ignorant!”

This is where I suggest – not for the first time – that public education may be failing The Heartland. Putting children in tent cities, cages and prisons equals Naziesque. Merely declining to serve a lying, scruple-free person cuisine from The Red Hen? Not Third Reich. In fact wasn’t this just decided by the Supreme Court?

On June 4, SCOTUS handed down a 7-2 decision in the case of Masterpiece Cakeshop Ltd. vs. Colorado Civil Rights Commission. Adam Liptak of The New York Times described the verdict as ruling:

“in favor of a Colorado baker who had refused to create a wedding cake for a gay couple. The court’s decision was narrow, and it left open the larger question of whether a business can discriminate against gay men and lesbians based on rights protected by the First Amendment.”

I get tired of pointing this out to right wing elites, but you can’t have it both ways here. Just as Justice Kennedy impugned Colorado’s “clear and impermissible hostility toward the sincere religious beliefs that motivated [the baker’s] objection,” we’re not aware of the spiritual leanings of The Red Hen’s ownership. Most faiths, including all those across the Christian spectrum, teach empathy and humility toward the endangered and less fortunate. In fact it’s right there on the Compassion website:

“In Latin, ‘compati’ means ‘suffer with.’ Compassion means someone else’s heartbreak becomes your heartbreak. Another’s suffering becomes your suffering. True compassion changes the way we live.”

The Good Book has been literally thrown into a cage along with thousands of helpless migrant children. That’s what Evangelical and Christian cynicism looks like in 2018. Perhaps the proprietors of The Red Hen have a conscious moral objection to serving accessories to kidnapping in their establishment. That is now protected by the First Amendment under the SCOTUS ruling. Be careful what you spend three decades fighting for, conservative Snowflakes. The law, at least for now, is still applicable on all sides.

And to Nielsen and Sanders, I say, if you can’t take the public heat, stay in the human suffering development laboratory that now passes for the White House.

Becky Sarwate

Becky Sarwate

Becky is an award-winning journalist, Op-Ed columnist and blogger. On March 29, 2018 her first book, Cubsessions: Famous Fans of Chicago’s North Side Baseball Team, will be published by Eckhartz Press. She is a proud Chicago resident, where Becky lives with her husband Bob. Check out her collected work at, and follow her on Twitter @BeckySarwate.