Trump faces demand from 9/11 families over Saudi golf event
Families of 9/11 victims called upon the former US president to nix the upcoming tournament at one of his courses
Former US President Donald Trump has been implored to cancel the upcoming Saudi-backed LIV golf tournament due to take place at his Bedminster golf resort in New Jersey later this month by relatives of people killed in the September 11 attacks in New York City in 2001.
In a letter issued to Trump dated this past Sunday, the group called ‘9/11 Justice’ asked Trump to nix the event due to begin on July 29 and noted that Trump had previously stated that Saudi Arabia was responsible for the terror attacks which killed just under 3,000 people – as well as many more in the ensuing years due to health conditions brought on by it.
“We simply cannot understand how you could agree to accept money from the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia’s golf league to host their tournament at your golf course, and to do so in the shadows of ground zero in New Jersey, which lost over 700 residents during the attacks,” the group wrote.
“It is incomprehensible to us that a former president of the United States would cast our loved ones aside for personal financial gain. We hope you will reconsider your business relationship with the Saudi golf league and will agree to meet with us.”
Central to their point was Trump’s assertion to Fox News in 2016 in which he claimed that Saudi Arabia was ultimately responsible for the most significant terrorist attack to ever take place on US soil.
Osama bin Laden, who the US said masterminded the attack, was born in Saudi Arabia, as were several of the plan hijackers.
“Who blew up the World Trade Center? It wasn’t the Iraqis. It was Saudi. Take a look at Saudi Arabia,” Trump said in 2016. “The people came, most of the people came from Saudi Arabia. They didn’t come from Iraq.”
Brett Eagleson, the president of 9/11 Justice, however, told the New York Times that neither Trump nor his representatives have responded to the letter, arguing that Trump is “allowing the Saudis to literally get away with murder if this golf tournament is allowed to proceed.”
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Eagleson lost his father on September 11, which occurred when he was just 15 years old.
“It just sends a message that with the right amount of money, you can make people forget about anything,” he added.
“If anyone knows the extent of the Saudi role in 9/11, it’s Trump.”
The LIV Golf invitational series has proved to be hugely controversial since its inception, as it continues to tempt numerous high-profile players away from the PGA Tour in what is increasingly being seen as an unfolding civil war within the sport.
Critics have also maintained that it is the latest example of the so-called practice of ‘sports-washing’ in Saudi Arabia – a concerted effort to rehabilitate the country’s reputation of extreme human rights abuses by hosting high profile sporting events.
Henrik Stenson, who had been named as Europe’s Ryder Cup captain for next year in what is one of the biggest honors in professional golf, is expected to be stripped of his captaincy after it was reported that he will likely add his name to the ever-growing list of high profile defectors.