LIEUTENANT GUBERNATORIAL CANDIDATE URGED TO LEAVE “WHITES ONLY” ESTABLISHMENT
Two GOP lawmakers want former S.C. Attorney General Henry McMaster – the party’s nominee for lieutenant governor – to resign from a “whites only” country club in Columbia, S.C.
S.C. Reps. Doug Brannon of Spartanburg and Kris Crawford of Florence told reporter Cassie Cope of The (Columbia, S.C.) State newspaper that they believe McMaster’s membership in the Forest Lake Country Club sends the wrong message to voters.
Specifically, Crawford said McMaster should have nothing to do with a club that wouldn’t permit one of South Carolina’s sitting U.S. Senators – Tim Scott – to be a member.
“If Henry McMaster wants the Republicans of South Carolina to take him seriously as our candidate for lieutenant governor, he’s got to make sure he’s not affiliating himself with organizations that would exclude his fellow statewide Republicans based on their ethnicity,” Crawford told Cope.
We agree … although McMaster, who has been a member of the club for more than three decades, has said he has no intention of quitting. In fact his spokesman – a former Nikki Haley staffer – claims the club isn’t discriminatory because it has an interracial couple on its waiting list.
Last week, S.C. Rep. Beth Bernstein – a Columbia Democrat – said she and her husband would not be accepting an invitation to join the club due to its discriminatory policies.
Forest Lake’s “whites only” policy – part of the deed to the property upon which the club sits – made headlines again last week when S.C. Rep. Bakari Sellers (D-Bamberg) challenged McMaster to withdraw. Sellers – a centrist Democrat – is running against McMaster for lieutenant governor.
As we’ve said from the beginning of this drama, we respect the right of private clubs to admit – or refuse admittance – to anyone they please, for whatever reason they please. Of course they should also be prepared to face the consequences of their decisions in the marketplace of ideas – which (appropriately) rejects racism as incompatible with fundamental individual liberty.