A local Rhode Island news outlet questioned Senator Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI) about his membership in a private club, Bailey’s Beach Club in Newport, that has historically served elite members since its founding in the 1890s and is allegedly all-white.
Talk about speaking your last name into existence (allegedly)!
Last Friday, GoLocal reporter Kate Nagle asked Sen. Whitehouse whether there were any developments since they first raised the issue with him in 2017 about what she calls an “all-white” club. The outlet didn’t provide information to corroborate their claim.
The Democratic U.S. Senator did not confirm or deny her statement that it was all-white, responding, “I think the people who are running the place are still working on that and I’m sorry it hasn’t happened yet,” he told the news outlet. “[The club is] 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,” he added.
A Whitehouse spokesperson told the NY Post there isn’t explicit language to prohibit Black people and other people of color from joining the private club, and that they do have members of color. However, the club has not released information about its membership policies or demographics.
His response to the controversy contrasts his statements about policing amid protests for George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery, and Breonna Taylor last year, when he said in a statement, “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.”