When politicians gratuitously use tragic events to push their own agenda, it’s often the ones who are most vocal who are full of BS – and a healthy dose of hypocrisy.
According to GoLocalProv:
This week Rhode Island’s junior United States Senator Sheldon Whitehouse launched a blistering series of tweets against racism and bigotry.
“The hatred and violence we are seeing in #Charlottesville is shameful. Our unity will overcome this bigotry,” Whitehouse tweeted.
But, what few Rhode Islanders or Americans may know about the outspoken Senator is that he spends his summer vacation days as a member of the wildly exclusive – and white – Spouting Rock Beach Association (SRBA) or better known as Bailey’s Beach Club.
Located on Newport’s famous Ocean’s Drive, the club has had notably wealthy members including the Vanderbilt and Astor families. And while being the playground to some of America’s richest families, SRBA’s tax status is a non-profit.
African-American journalist Adam Clayton Powell III, the former son-in-law of Eileen Slocum, the grand dame of GOP Newport politics before passing away in 2008, was known to visit the club by lieu of family ties, but did not appear to have a membership. Clayton Powell III is the son of the late New York Congressman Adam Clayton Powell, Jr.
SRBA General Manager Jack Nolan did not respond to request for comment.
Whitehouse’s office repeatedly refused to respond to phone calls and multiple emails regarding the Senator’s membership in a white-only club.
Bailey’s Beach has been in the national eye for years, including the 2003 New York Times article, “At Bailey’s Beach, The Ruling Class Keeps Its Guard Up.”
In the piece, Guy Trebay wrote:
“Diversity, of course, has made scant inroads on the Newport of Bailey’s Beach, whose membership profile might be defined less by who people are than what they are not. ‘Jewish, yes,’ Audrey Oswald, a lifelong member replied, when asked about the club’s demographic composition. ‘Blacks, not really,’ Ms. Oswald added, although that is not altogether the case. Mrs. Slocum, by all accounts the reigning dowager of the resort, has grown grandchildren who sometimes visit the beach and who are biracial, the offspring of her daughter Beryl’s marriage to Adam Clayton Powell III.”
Elizabeth Drexel Lehr, a 19th Century socialite described the protocol at Bailey’s, “Only the elite could bathe at Bailey’s Beach. It was Newport’s most exclusive club…unless they were accompanied by one of the members, or bore an introduction from an unimpeachable hostess, no power on earth could gain them admission. If they wanted to bathe, they could only go to Easton’s Beach.”
Whitehouse, whose wealth can be traced back to his great-great-grandfather Charles Crocker, one of the founders of the Central Pacific Railroad, was first elected to the Senate in 2006 after serving as Rhode Island Attorney General.
Politicians and “White Only” Clubs
Politicians’ ties to exclusionary organizations have come under scrutiny for years.
In 1992, President Bill Clinton was chided by the NAACP for golfing at an all-white golf club in Arkansas.
In 2006, Senator Edward “Ted” Kennedy severed his ties with the all-male Owl club which he joined while at Harvard University — after he had blasted Judge and Supreme Court nominee Samuel Alito Jr. for having joined a conservative group called “Concerned Alumni of Princeton,” that had wanted the university to remain all-male.
The late U.S. Senator John H. Chafee would not be a member of all-male or all-white clubs.
Whitehouse and his wife Sandra own multiple properties, including a $2.7 million, 6 bedroom house off of Ocean Road in Newport — less than a quarter mile from Bailey’s Beach.