Democratic Rhode Island Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse was confronted over the weekend for his decades-long membership to an allegedly all-white private beach club.
GoLocal Providence had first raised the issue with Whitehouse back in 2017, to which the senator expressed his concerns about the lack of diversity in the club, and the reporter asked Whitehouse if there are any minority members today.
“I think the people who are running the place are still working on that and I’m sorry it hasn’t happened yet,” Whitehouse responded.
“Do you have concerns in 2021 … You had remarks on the floor following the deaths of Breonna Taylor and George Floyd, saying that you hope to root out systemic racism in the country. Your thoughts on an elite, all-white, wealthy club again in this day in age. Should these clubs continue to exist?” the reporter followed up.
“It’s a long tradition in Rhode Island and there are many of them. I think we just need to work our way through the issues,” Whitehouse replied.
Bailey’s Beach Club has been described as “the most exclusive club in America,” with membership limited to a “who’s who Newport, Palm Beach, and New York wealth,” according to GoLocal Providence.
Whitehouse’s wife is one of the largest shareholders in the club and the senator also promised to quit his membership at Bailey’s — as well as the all-male, allegedly all-white Bellevue Avenue Reading Room — when he first ran for the Senate in 2006, GoLocal Providence reported.
The video of Whitehouse defending his membership to the club went viral on Twitter with users accusing him of hypocrisy as an outspoken critic of “systemic racism” in America who is now accused of belonging to an all-white exclusive club. (RELATED: Sheldon Whitehouse Invited Three Witnesses To Testify Against Dark Money — They All Work For Dark Money Groups)
— tsar becket adams (@BecketAdams) June 21, 2021
— Drew Holden (@DrewHolden360) June 21, 2021
Whitehouse has also been accused of hypocrisy due to his outspoken opposition to dark money despite a history of supporting dark money groups that donate to progressive causes.