2017 | Politics

Somerset Mayor Quits Woodmont Country Club over Obama Membership Flap

Chooses Martin Luther King Jr.'s birthday to make announcement

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Jeffrey Slavin

Maryland Democrats

Updated, 11 a.m.: Somerset Mayor Jeffrey Slavin resigned Monday from the Woodmont Country Club in Rockville because of a controversy over whether the mostly Jewish club would allow President Barack Obama to join.

According to his resignation letter, he chose Monday because it is Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s birthday.

“I can no longer belong to a community: where Intolerance is accepted, where History is forgotten, where Freedom of Speech is denied, and where the nation's first black president is disrespected,” Slavin wrote.

On Thursday, Slavin announced he would resign if the club didn’t invite Obama to join. News reports have said the president’s possible membership has generated controversy because members objected to the United States’ recent refusal to block an anti-Israel vote in the United Nations.

In an interview Monday morning, Slavin said, “I’m astonished, given the bad publicity the club has been getting, that no one at the club is responding with the obvious response.”

Slavin said he has been a member of the club, which is on Rockville Pike, for 61 years.

The club did not return a phone call Monday morning.

In an email sent to Woodmont members, and shared with Bethesda Beat, club president Barry Forman said the club’s policy is to withhold comment or speculation on issues related to membership.

But Forman did say the club has not received a request or an application for membership from Obama. 

Slavin and others assert Obama wouldn’t want to join a club with a history of discrimination, as is the case with some other local country clubs. Woodmont was founded because Jews couldn’t join other country clubs in the area.

In his Thursday letter, Slavin said he would organize others to join him in canceling memberships. On Monday, Slavin said many members share his views in the brouhaha, but they’d rather stay members and “fight from within.”