U.S. Senator Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI) and his family are long-time members in an all-white club. In fact, Mr. Whitehouse, his wife Sandra, as well as their families, have been members of the swanky private Bailey’s Beach Club for decades.

Bailey’s Beach Club is not an average private club. It has been described as the most exclusive club in America. According to the NY Times, ’’People kill to belong to the beach,’ It has really driven some people crazy when they don’t get in.” And one of the largest shareholders of the “whites only” Newport, RI club, is Sandra Thornton Whitehouse. Ms. Whitehouse gained that distinction after her senator husband transferred his shares of the club, also known by its legal name, Spouting Rock Beach Association.

When asked 4 years ago about the beach club’s all-white policy, Mr. Whitehouse said, “I think it would be nice if they (Bailey’s Beach Club) changed a little bit, but it’s not my position.”

Last Friday, the day before Juneteenth, GoLocal News spoke with the senator, asking if the private club had admitted any minorities since the news outlet first raised the issue in 2017, “I think the people who are running the place are still working on that and I’m sorry it hasn’t happened yet,” Mr. Whitehouse said. He defended the club’s all-white policy, saying, “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.”

So what has changed in regards to who is and isn’t allowed into the club in the past 4- years? Apparently not much. Although last summer, on June 4, after the deaths of George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery, and Breonna Taylor, senator Whitehouse stated, “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.”  

Thus far, the lofty words of the senator have yet to be put into action, even at his own luxurious, private club.



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