Imagine being a Republican politician who got captured at an event that forbade African American’s from attending.
That lawmaker’s career would be finished. He’d be on the front page of each media outlet in the property.
But if you’re a Democrat, you get a complete pass.
Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse last week refused to plead for his family’s membership in a reportedly all-White shore club in his home state of Rhode Island, calling beach clubs”a long tradition” and saying he hopes the club will acknowledge minority members shortly.
The senator’s office on Monday denied that the club has discriminatory policies and stated it does have minority associates.
Whitehouse, D-R.I., was asked about his family’s membership in Bailey’s Beach Club, formally called Spouting Rock Beach Association, by GoLocalProv in a movie that was posted on Saturday. The interviewer cited remarks Whitehouse made in 2017 he expected the highly exclusive club would start to accept minority associates and requested Whitehouse’s response to it allegedly not doing this.
“I think the people who are running the place are still working on that and I’m sorry it hasn’t happened yet,” Whitehouse said.
GoLocalProv requested Whitehouse whether exclusive clubs together with White members must “continue to exist.”
“It’s a long tradition in Rhode Island and there are many of them and we just need to work our way through the issues,” Whitehouse said.
In 2017, Whitehouse told GoLocalProv “it would be nice if the membership changed a little but it’s not my position.”
In response to a question on the senator’s remarks from Fox News, Whitehouse Communications Director Richard Davidson stated, “The club has no such restrictive policies. The club has had and has members of color.”
Bailey’s, according to a 2003 New York Times profile of the club, has been “long considered the queen of American resorts.”
The Times further reported that Bailey’s is “a world of emerald-barnacled dinosaurs attended by uniformed retainers and underwritten by ironclad fiduciary trusts” where “diversity… has made scant inroads.”
According to this newspaper, the biracial grandchildren of a single member occasionally visited the hotel, and it did allow members. But, according to a lifelong member quoted by The Times, Black people were “not really” welcome.
The Spouting Rock Beach Association’s job page describes itself as”an exclusive private beach club in Newport, Rhode Island.”
GoLocalProv, meanwhile, described Bailey’s as”the most exclusive club in America” and reported that the senator’s wife goes to the club most days throughout the summer.
Whitehouse, among the most vocal Democrats on the high-profile Senate Judiciary Committee, said on the anniversary of George Floyd’s death late last month that his committee is”working… to bring lasting change” on”racial injustice.”