Sheldon Whitehouse Steps in It Even More as He Tries to Spin the All-White Beach Club Story

Tom Williams/Pool via AP

It’s taken three days, but it seems CNN has finally caught up to the story about Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI) that I reported on Sunday, about local media nailing him for belonging to an all-white beach club. We reported how the media seemed to be slow to the story which would be running 24/7 if it were a Republican.

Whitehouse didn’t deny it when asked by GoLocalProv. His response was “I think the people who are running the place are still working on that, and I’m sorry it hasn’t happened yet” and “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.”

As we reported, he’d previously been asked by the same local media in 2017. He’d even promised to leave the club in 2006 during his first run for the Senate. Instead, he not only stayed in the club, but he gave his shares in the club to his wife making her one of their largest shareholders. So not only were his family members for decades, not only did he go back on his promise, but his family actually has a big interest in the club as well, so he can’t just wiggle out of it by trying to fluff it off.

CNN’s Jake Tapper and Sunlen Serfaty took on the “accusations” of it being an all-white club.

Tapper said Serfaty had been reaching out to the club and the senator, “trying to get clear answers” but that “it was not easy.” “They are being very evasive here,” Serfaty said. She said they didn’t or wouldn’t clear up the reporting on the issue. She said they hung up on her multiple times. They told her because they were a private club they wouldn’t give out names of the members and they had no comment.

They said they were finally able to get through to Whitehouse who said, “The club informs me that it does, in fact, have diversity in membership.” Then he went into full-bore spin, “I believe that there were, I don’t spend a lot of time there so I couldn’t tell you who the members are.” His office claimed that the club didn’t have a restrictive policy and that the club has had members of color, but provided no evidence to support the claim about there were such members.

Of course, there’s no “official” policy that anyone can point to, that would be too problematic. But clearly, Whitehouse thought there weren’t members of color and didn’t even bother to deny it when questioned. Now that the spit has hit the spam on this, now the spin is coming out. If they actually had members who were not white, why didn’t he just say that when confronted? Why had he previously agreed he was going to leave the club because of the issue?

Now he’s trying to spin away from it with “I don’t spend much time there” so I’m just a poor ignorant member who doesn’t really know what’s going on, not someone whose family has been there for decades and someone whose wife is one of the largest shareholders.

Not buying it, Sheldon. Where are any of the Democrats calling this out? Notice the deafening silence.