Bill Clinton: I Have ‘A Lot of Respect for the Way Sarah Huckabee Sanders Handled’ Restaurant Incident

Former President Bill Clinton said Wednesday that he respects the way White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders handled being kicked out of a restaurant in Lexington, Va.

"The Daily Show" host Trevor Noah asked Clinton about Sanders’ expulsion from the Red Hen over her status as a Trump administration official, and Clinton said Sanders handled the matter with dignity. Sanders, who shares with Clinton the hometown of Hope, Arkansas, left the restaurant peacefully and talked about it after media reports came out.

"I read the article about the lady who owned the restaurant, and I wound up with a lot of respect for the way she debated it," Clinton said. "But I also had a lot of respect for the way Sarah Huckabee Sanders handled it. I mean, she was very dignified. She didn't chew them out. She didn't pitch a fit. She didn't call them immigrant-loving thugs, or whatever. She just got up and left — and offered to pay."

"Maybe what I'd like to see, this be the beginning of something where, you know, it would be better if we started talking to each other again," he added. "Sooner or later people need to quit tearing each other down and go to work."

He credited himself with trying to be a much more positive leader, calling on the Trump administration to do better.

"I think that you can't foment as much hatred as has been fomented by the administration without having a blowback, so it if they want to have more civility, they need to stop the name calling and take the lead like I tried to," Clinton said, to loud applause.

Sanders is one of many Republicans and Trump officials who have been driven out of restaurants and harassed in public over the administration’s immigration policy. Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao pushed back on some protesters who confronted her and her husband, Sen. Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R., Ky.), while others have had to vacate premises due to protests.