A Democratic Rhode Island Senator who bills himself as being a progressive against systemic racism is in hot water for defending his long-term membership at a private all-white beach club in the state.
According to reports, Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse and his family have been members of the exclusive Bailey’s Beach Club in Newport, Rhode Island, for at least two decades.
The lid got blown off this scandal when Whitehouse was recently confronted by a GoLocal Providence reporter about his membership and the club’s lack of diversity. “I think the people who are running the place are still working on that and I’m sorry it hasn’t happened yet,” Whithouse told the reporter.
According to the New York Post, when Whitehouse was asked if such clubs should continue to exist during a time when the country is having a “racial reckoning,” the Senator responded, “It’s a long tradition in Rhode Island, and there are many of them.”
“And I think we just need to work our way through the issues,” Whitehouse added before the interview ended.
People criticized Whithouse’s response as dismissive given the status of race relations in America.
While Whitehouse appeared to dismiss the club’s circumstances, his wife, Sandra Whitehouse, happens to be one of the three largest shareholders in the club.
When Whitehouse, who was first elected in 2006, initially ran for his office, he disavowed his membership and pledged to quit the club, GoLocal reported.
Despite his flagrant comments, Whitehouse’s office said Monday it denied that the club is discriminatory and has no minority members. It was not immediately clear how many minority members, if any, the club currently has.
Whew, Whitehouse better figure out what he’s going to do because his constituents don’t appear to be too happy. We’ll keep you posted on this one.
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