Heritage Foundation economist Diana Furchtgott-Roth took a dig at Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse’s (D-R.I.) private beach club membership during a hearing on Capitol Hill Wednesday, alluding to allegations that all the members of the ultra-exclusive Rhode Island club are white.
The think tank scholar made the comment during a Senate Budget Committee hearing on fossil fuels, after Whitehouse – the chairman of the panel – attacked Furchtgott-Roth’s credibility over her ties to the fossil fuel industry.
“I don’t have the benefit of being able to rely on a family fortune made in the Minnesota gas business, or having my spouse’s family fortune come from United Gas,” Furchtgott-Roth said while being questioned by Whitehouse, referencing the senator’s own familial ties to the fossil fuel industry.
Diana Furchtgott-Roth to Senator Whitehouse: “The @Heritage Foundation is a club that anyone can join, not just white people.”
Sheldon Whitehouse belongs to an all-white private beach club in Rhode Island. pic.twitter.com/9xI7ivSarf
— Ben Goldey (@BenGoldey) May 3, 2023
“And The Heritage Foundation is a club that anyone can join, not just white people. During 2021, it had hundreds of thousands of individual, foundation and corporate supporters representing every state in the United States,” Furchtgott-Roth added.
The remark was a shot at scrutiny Whitehouse has faced over his decades-long membership in the allegedly all-white Newport-based Bailey’s Beach Club.
In 2021, Whitehouse – a prominent critic of “systemic racism” – acknowledged to a reporter for GoLocal Providence that the “people who are running the place are still working on that,” referring to allegations that Bailey’s Beach Club has no minority members.
He added, “I’m sorry it hasn’t happened yet,” but touted the club’s “long tradition in Rhode Island.”
When Whitehouse, who was first elected in 2006, initially ran for his Senate seat, he disavowed his membership and pledged to quit the club, according to GoLocal Providence, but never did.