A Democratic senator who has previously condemned systemic racism is facing backlash after his membership to a white-only beach club was made public.
Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse of Rhode Island defended his membership to the Bailey’s Beach Club in Newport over the weekend, stating that being a member at the club is a “long tradition.” He was asked by a reporter from GoLocalProv.com if the club changed its policy to let people of color join.
“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. “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, thank you,” he added.
According to a report by The Huffington Post, Whitehouse promised to end his membership to the club during his first senatorial campaign in 2006, but as GoLocalProv.com reported, the senator transferred his shares of the membership to his wife.
The club hasn’t responded to the controversy, stating instead: “We’re a very small private beach club. We have no comment at this time. We’re private. Our club information is private,” a staff member told Vice.
People on Twitter had plenty to say about Whitehouse's membership to the club.