NEW HAVEN --- At Sunday’s gubernatorial forum in New Haven, Ned Lamont failed to answer why he belonged to an almost all white country club for 16 years. Lamont previously stated he quit the exclusive Round Hill Country Club in Greenwich because it could be a “distraction” to his 2006 Senate campaign against Senator Joseph Lieberman.
“It is shocking that Mr. Lamont is unable to simply answer why for 16 years he chose to be a member of an almost all white, exclusive Greenwich country club. His convoluted answer why he quit, ranging from running against the Iraq War to realizing he ‘did play golf at a place, I should not have been there’ was nonsensical. Mr. Lamont owes voters a straight answer,” said Joe Ganim, Bridgeport Mayor and Democratic gubernatorial candidate.
When he was asked about the Round Hill issue during yesterday’s forum, this was Lamont’s answer:
“In 2006 I took on, um, a sitting senator in my own party. And my party was mad as heck when I did that. I thought it was wrong based on the news of the day and that was the decision to invade Iraq. I went right here to Varick church and I said ‘why are we spending billions of dollars every month waging this war that does nothing for the poor children of Iraq, this does nothing to make America safer, does nothing to stabilize Iraq when that money should be invested right here in this country.’ That’s what I did and that’s what I believe. I gotta say in my personal life, um, I did play golf at a place, I should not have been there. I changed my location immediately, I am now no longer a member there. Most importantly understand from my heart where I stand. I stand with each and every one of you. I set out to convince you that every day I will be fighting for you, I will be fighting for the folks in New Haven, folks in this neighborhood. Folks in neighborhoods just like this. That I am gonna be there, looking you in the eye. Look, I’m someone you’ve gotta take me at my word. You’ve gotta look me in the eye, I’ve gotta look at you and you’re gonna know that I am there for you every day. That’s why I’m running for governor, and that’s what I’m going to convince you as governor.”
Video of the question and answer can be viewed here. The issue was first raised in this New York Times article from July of 2006.
“Mr. Lamont’s statement to the New York Times in 2006 that he resigned his membership to the almost all white club because it would be a ‘distraction’ to his campaign shows a terrible disconnect and lack of sensitivity to this issue. Rather than resigning out of principle at any time during his 16 years there as a member, Mr. Lamont clearly only resigned when he thought it would hurt him politically against Senator Lieberman. That’s not exactly a profile in courage,” said Ganim.
The Round Hill Country Club has a long history with the Bush family. Prescott Bush, father to President George H. W. Bush and grandfather to President George W. Bush, was president of the club.