Last weekend, Stephanie Wilkinson, the owner of the Red Hen restaurant in Lexington, Virginia, asked White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders to leave because of her staff’s objections to Sanders’ defense of Donald Trump’s more repugnant policies. Oh, how the right wing fringe howled! Indeed, some of them were mad enough to troll and harass Wilkinson and several of her employees. But the New York Daily News recently noticed that the right was singing a different tune six years ago, when a baker refused to serve then-Vice President Joe Biden.
In August 2012, just three months before the election, several members of Biden’s advance team happened by Crumb and Get It, a bakery owned by Chris and Kelly McMurray in Radford, Virginia. They wanted to know if Biden could come in for some cookies, and a possible photo op, while on the way to a campaign stop in Blacksburg. Chris McMurray turned them down almost out of hand.
McMurray later told WDBJ in Roanoke that he objected to President Obama’s remarks while speaking in Roanoke a month earlier. For those who don’t recall, Obama caught a lot of flack from the right when he said, “If you’ve got a business–you didn’t build that.” McMurray took that remark as an insult.
“Speaking of small businesses and entrepreneurs all across this country and actually last night my wife was up all night. No sleep, she’s worked a full 24 hours.”
What most of Obama’s critics missed was that Obama was referring to the roads, bridges and other infrastructure that make it possible for businesses to succeed–including a small-town baker like McMurray.
For a time, McMurray became a minor celebrity. For instance, it got him an interview on the morning show at WMAL in Washington. Listen here.
McMurray said that he not only objected to Obama’s supposed pooh-poohing of small business, but also because Obama’s administration stood for “a number of things that contradict my faith.”
In the coming months, McMurray became a hero to the right. The Drudge Report picked up WDBJ’s coverage, and his business briefly took off, with many people who had never previously visited coming to stand with their neighborhood baker. One of them, Jackie Moore, told The Roanoke Times, “I don’t believe you should be pushed into entertaining the vice president if you don’t agree with him.”
The Mitt Romney campaign also seized on it. The official Republican National Committee Twitter feed showcased McMurray’s stand.
Suffice to say that tweet isn’t aging well six years later.
Romney’s running mate, Paul Ryan, invited McMurray to introduce him at a rally in Roanoke a few weeks after McMurray snubbed Biden. McMurray told the crowd that he wanted to “send a message to the Obama-Biden team that we did build it.”
Once Twitter noticed that the official RNC Twitter feed celebrated Murray six years earlier, it didn’t take long for hilarity to break out.
The Internet never forgets.
One other thing is worth noting. There is no record of McMurray being doxxed, harassed, or trolled in the wake of his snub of Biden. In contrast, the Red Hen has been the target of particularly vicious harassment, with several users going as far as to post Wilkinson’s home address and telephone number. Then again, we have to remember that we traded a government of adults for one led by a 71-year-old toddler.
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