Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse under fire for ties to reportedly all-white beach club

Race in America

(NewsNation Now) — Rhode Island Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse is taking criticism again for his membership in a beach club that’s reportedly all-white.

Sprouting Rock Beach Association‘s name comes from the sprouting rock set among the mansions in Newport, Rhode Island. It’s commonly known as Bailey’s Beach.

This isn’t the first time his membership at the blue blood club has caused him problems. “I think it would be nice if (Bailey’s Beach Club) changed a little bit, but it’s not my position,” Whitehouse said in 2017. He was also asked if he would pressure the club to make changes, and he said, “I will take that up privately.”

But whatever he took up with the club’s management didn’t change much. Last year the outspoken progressive senator challenged all of us to do more on the issue of race, saying, “Our country is at a crossroads… while, President Trump is toiling to deepen the fault lines in American life.  We can and must do better to root out systemic racism in its many forms and meet America’s full promise of justice for all.”

But as America opens up and beach season begins, not much has changed at the club, which is a 501(c)(3) charity — nor has Whitehouse’s position on the exclusivity.

“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,” he said.

A staffer from the senator’s office later issued a statement saying  “The club has no such restrictive policy. The club has had and has members of color.” But the office never provided any proof, nor did Whitehouse seem aware of those members when confronted.

“I think the people who are running the place are still working on that, and I’m sorry it hasn’t happened yet,” he said.

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