Krauss: Will Leahy, Sanders call out Senate men’s club hypocrisy?

Will Senators Pat Leahy and Bernie Sanders hold their Democratic colleague Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse (D-Rhode Island) to account for his participation in exclusive Bailey’s Beach Club? Swampyank/Wikepedia photo of Bailey’s.

by Matt Krauss

Vermont women were denied membership in the exclusive and private Ethan Allen Club until 1990. The welcomed change came about because of very intense public pressure. Women remember the sting of exclusion, and Vermonters have rightfully rejected joining these private, very restrictive clubs.

Not all private clubs in New England are so progressive. Bailey’s Beach Club in Rhode Island is in the news regarding its disputed minority membership numbers. Newsweek magazine called the club, “.. the pinnacle of WASP elitism” and an “elite all-white beach club.” Local reporters have criticized its lack of diversity while the club manager disputes those comments.

The preeminent attendee, and past member, is Senator Sheldon Whitehouse. He is the scion of a famous Rhode Island family and graduate of private preparatory schools and Yale. When asked about this club he said, they represent “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.”

Perhaps he could work through the issues directly with his wife Sandra, a club member for decades and one of the largest shareholders of Bailey’s Beach Club. Vermonters might see this situation producing some necessary, but awkward pillow talk. “Say honey, how’s the minority membership drive coming at the club?” National Review said recently that Senator Whitehouse may belong/attend as many as three private and exclusive Rhode Island clubs.

Given some of the facts are disputed let’s agree that at the very least, an in-depth and impartial investigation by a reputable legal firm should be initiated. Exactly what is the composition of the clubs membership? How are minority memberships sought and handled? What data over the years is available and verified? Are all local, state, and federal laws being followed? And finally, in fairness to Senator Whitehouse, allow him to describe his family’s relationship to these clubs. Every individual should be afforded the presumption of innocence.

Senator Patrick Leahy chairs the Senate Judiciary Committee and has Senator Whitehouse as a committee member. Senator Leahy is of Irish ancestry. He knows the discrimination the Irish suffered in employment, private club membership, and elite college admission. Should Vermonters be hearing from him regarding his opinion and the actions he might undertake to address this situation?

Vermonters might remind Senator Leahy that the real White House was partially constructed by black slaves. The private clubs that Senator Whitehouse frequents apparently aren’t eager to admit many of those ancestors as club members.

Senator Bernie Sanders chairs the Senate Committee on the Budget and has Senator Whitehouse as a committee member. Senator Sanders is of Jewish ancestry. He rightfully speaks of the need to ensure diverse voices are heard in all arenas. Senator Sanders can recount the historical discrimination Jewish people faced in America. In 1988 Senator Sanders went to the Soviet Union on a ten-day honeymoon. I’ll wager he had an easier time getting into the Soviet Union in 1988 than he would have had getting into the tony Bailey’s Beach Club. Should Vermonters know his opinion too?

Vermont women like Lt. Governor Gray, State Senator Balint, Speaker Krowinski, and Mary Powell are anxiously awaiting the opportunity to seek a federal office. They are courageous, ready to face challenging issues and would bring different perspectives to the office. Here is an opportunity for them to draw a distinction regarding how women would handle apparent discrimination and exclusion differently. Are they prepared to be as courageous as former Vermonter and Nobel winner Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn? He was a tireless, fearless, and eloquent critic for truth no matter how ugly or inconvenient.

Have Vermont media met their responsibility to demand an appropriate response and action? Have we heard their voices in this matter?

Let’s hope Vermont power brokers are publicly willing to speak truth to power. Maybe they’ll ask Senator Whitehouse to stop visiting those private clubs and bastions of white supremacy until the membership is more reflective of 2021 America.

Matt Krauss, of Stowe, is a happily retired state employee and a former Vermont legislator

Categories: Commentary

7 replies »

  1. Frankly, I could care less about Leahy’s, Sanders’ opinions, I would much rather see them expelled from office. They are swamp creatures along with all the rest of the swamp creatures who hate America. Better yet, deport them all to China, one way ticket.

  2. A truly heartwarming story of a retired Vermont state employee who’s life is going so well he has time to worry about a beach club in Rhode Island. Hopefully the underfunded state pension system will continue to shower Mr. Krauss with its blessings.

    • It’s kind of like the socialists in the state that we call democrats… And the rhinos that are involved with them.

      Our state is dying a slow death and they are involved in corruption with the eb-5 movement and worried about a gentleman who was opposed to wearing a mask that provided absolutely no protection as it states on the box they come in.

      Our own so-called republican governor called the people in the state of vermont racist.. don’t you think he should be calling a true racist out along with his buddies that he grabs every photo up with that becomes available?

      I appreciate stories like this it exposes the do as I say not as I do politicians..

      It didn’t take governor scott long to paint garbage in the street during the black lives matter movement.

      Maybe he should paint whitehouse is a racist on the street in montpelier… It would be a stark reminder of how many of these people truly are racist but point the finger at others and take our money to give it away for reparations.

      What a two-faced bunch have been elected to treat the people like servants..

      Hell it’s nothing out of the politicians pockets.

  3. When I read the headline, I heard Kamala Harris’ infamous cackling, giggle fits she always has when she’s asked a question she won’t answer. Pat, Bernie and Peter aka Larry Curly and Mo – care less about anything other than their bank accounts, real estate holdings, and covering up their treasonous, criminal conduct. When this story came out – a non-shocker at this point in the game. Democrats are members of racist golf clubs? (insert Kamala laugh track here) Senator Byrd was grand wizard of the KKK – Hilary’s hero – Joe Biden’s mentor. The Democrat party leaders are the most racist, discriminating, spiteful, corrupt, thieving, malicious liars and there are many on the other side just as bad – the Uni-party is alive and thriving.

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