I met Sarah Huckabee Sanders for the first time in 2008. She had just finished running her father’s highly successful Presidential Primary Campaign. Her father, Governor Mike Huckabee, finished second to Senator John McCain in large part due to her efforts.
I had invited Gov. Mike Huckabee to speak at the American Friends of Ateret Cohanim Dinner that year. I had wanted to meet with him prior. He couldn’t make it, so he sent his wife Janet and his daughter Sarah instead. I think it was the first time Sarah had ever eaten at a glatt kosher delicatessen in New York. I can tell you she was given a much warmer reception at Mendy’s than she was at the Red Hen Restaurant in Lexington, Virginia, in the summer of 2018. Her encounter there with the “Liberal Mob” as she entitled her chapter about the incident in her recent bestseller, Speaking for Myself, was an absolute embarrassment for the country. Sarah tweeted the following about the shameful treatment she had received: “Last night I was told by the owner of Red Hen in Lexington, VA, to leave because I work for @POTUS and I politely left. Her actions say far more about her than about me. I always do my best to treat people, including those I disagree with, respectfully and will continue to do so.”
Sarah Huckabee was always a class act. In contrast, Congresswoman Maxine Waters at the time said, “If you see anybody from that (administration) in a restaurant, in a department store, at a gasoline station, you get out and you create a crowd. And you push back on them! And you tell them they’re not welcome anymore, anywhere!” Sarah did not deserve to be treated this way – no one deserves to be treated this way. Unfortunately, America has lost its civility, respect, and fairness. It is not the America that I remember.
Sarah Huckabee Sanders has the finest upright and exemplary character. She taught America how to behave. They have her to look up to. She is America’s heroine.
It all started at age 11, when she visited Israel and Yad Vashem with her family for the first time. Sarah fittingly concludes her book with the story that says the most about her. I now quote Sarah in her own words. “She saw an exhibit featuring hundreds of pairs of shoes taken off the feet of Jewish children her age or younger and piled high to be burned. She listened as the names of the 1.5 million Jewish children murdered by the Nazis were read off one by one, and was told it takes three months to get through the full list. The eleven-year-old didn’t speak as she walked through Yad Vashem... The father worried they’d made a mistake, that it was all just too much for her at such a young age. They got to the end and there was a guest book for visitors to sign...she still hadn’t said a word since entering Yad Vashem, but in the book the little girl carefully wrote: “Why didn’t somebody do something?”... The little girl understood. All it takes for evil to win is for good people to do nothing. The reason I know that story is that I was that little girl. My prayer for America is that like the brave generations before us, we take a stand against evil. Now is our chance to choose the right side. Let us be the somebodies who do something.”
Sarah, I have no doubt that you will always be one of those “somebodies.” It is because of you that America has a great future. I think it is time for another pastrami sandwich at Mendy’s. You will get an even warmer welcome now. I am looking forward to your future.
Joseph M. Frager is a physician and lifelong activist.