Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse, D-R.I., defended his family’s membership in a private Rhode Island beach club that’s allegedly all-white on Monday, telling reporters “the club has informed me that it does have the diversity of membership.”
Whitehouse is a longtime member of Bailey’s Beach Club, formally known as the Spouting Rock Beach Association. The association is “an exclusive private beach club in Newport, Rhode Island,” according to its employment page.
After being questioned about his membership and the racial makeup of the club, Whitehouse on Friday told a reporter from GoLocal Providence, “I think the people who are running the place are still working on that,” referring to diversifying membership. “I’m sorry it hasn’t happened yet.”
Bailey’s Beach Club is not an average private club. It has been described as the most exclusive club in America. People kill to belong to the beach,’ It has driven some people crazy when they don’t get in. And one of the largest shareholders of the “whites only” Newport, RI club, is Sandra Thornton Whitehouse. Ms. Whitehouse gained that distinction after her senator husband transferred his shares of the club, also known by its legal name, Spouting Rock Beach Association.
When asked 4 years ago about the beach club’s all-white policy, Mr. Whitehouse said, “I think it would be nice if they (Bailey’s Beach Club) changed a little bit, but it’s not my position.”
Asked Friday about his family’s continued membership at the “all-white” Newport club, Whitehouse, a progressive Democrat who has spoken out repeatedly against “systemic racism” in the country, told GoLocal Providence “I think the people who are running the place are still working on that and I’m sorry it hasn’t happened yet.”
WATCH: Democrat Senator Sheldon Whitehouse defends belonging to a whites-only beach club.
“It’s a long tradition in Rhode Island.”
— RNC Research (@RNCResearch) June 21, 2021
Not much has changed in the club for the past four years. Although last summer, on June 4, after the deaths of George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery, and Breonna Taylor, senator Whitehouse stated, “We hear the voices of the peaceful protestors who have marched. We can and must do better to root out systemic racism in its many forms.”
Whitehouse’s lofty words have yet to be put into action, even at his own luxurious, private club.