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A war of words over civility in politics has erupted in the United States following a restaurant's decision to refuse service to White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders.

The owner of the Red Hen in Lexington, Virginia, Stephanie Wilkinson, said she believed that Sanders worked in the service of an "inhumane and unethical" administration, that she publicly defended President Trump's cruelest policies, and that that could not stand. Both Sanders and Trump criticised the restaurant on Twitter. Sanders' father, former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee, denounced his daughter's treatment as "bigotry". 

The incident came weeks after the Supreme Court ruled in favour of a bakery owner who refused to make a wedding cake for a same-sex couple, a verdict many conservatives praised. A few days prior to the Sanders' encounter, protesters assailed Homeland Security secretary Kirstjen Nielsen at a Mexican restaurant in downtown Washington, just as the administration was coming under fire for its policy of separating undocumented immigrant families at the US border with Mexico. Trump's policy adviser, Stephen Miller, was also accosted at a different Mexican restaurant, where a protestor called him "a fascist", according to the New York Post.