Despite pleas from 9/11 families, Trump encourages professionals to join Saudi-backed golf league – Mother Jones

June 28, 2019, Japan, then President Donald Trump with Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman at the G20 summit in June 2019 in Osaka, Japan. Bernd von Guterczynka / picture-alliance / dpa / AP Images

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group of family members Victims of 9/11 are asking former President Donald Trump to cancel events he hosted at his golf clubs in a controversial Saudi-backed golf competition. Trump did not respond directly to the group. Instead, on Monday, he publicly encouraged more golfers to take part in the LIV golf tournament, which is largely funded by the kingdom’s sovereign wealth fund.

9/11 Justice, an organization of 9/11 survivors and their family members, sent a letter to Trump on Sunday, citing Trump’s previous statements blaming terrorist attacks on Saudi Arabia and saying it was a matter of concern to them. knowing that Trump would do it … to be pushed by LIV Golf to host two tournaments, one later this month at Bedminster, the northern New Jersey club where Trump spends most of his summer.

“The massacre of 9/11 left us with our husbands, our parents, our children, our siblings and our lifelong sadness and pain. “This pain feeds our ongoing struggle to hold Saudi Arabia accountable for its role in the attacks and what they have taken from each of us.” “It is incomprehensible to us that a former president of the United States would leave our loved ones for personal financial gain.”

The Trump organization did not respond to a request for comment, and Trump did not address 9/11 justice issues. But on Monday, he launched his social media to encourage more professional golfers to join the new league, which is caught up in an increasingly bitter feud with the more established PGA Tour.

“All golfers who remain ‘loyal’ to the highly disloyal PGA, in all its various forms, will pay a heavy price when a MEETING comes with a LIV, and you only get a big ‘thank you’ from PGA officials which is millions of dollars a year, “Trump wrote.” If you do not take the money now, you will not get anything after the merger happened, you will just say how smart the original signatories were. “

Prepare honestly for the competition With the PGA Tour, LIV Golf has spent a lot to attract the best names of the PGA and has put together great wallets at each of its tournaments. Tiger Woods That being said, offered nearly a billion dollars to change his allegiance, but refused to do so. Most of the other big names in the PGA have similarly rejected LIV’s initiatives, but some, including Phil Mickelson, have joined. The PGA Tour responded and banned players participating in the LIV from participating in regular tour events. The rift intensified with Woods saying last week that he felt players who remained had “turned their backs” on their roots. Earlier this week, the Department of Justice’s PGA investigation was released for possible antitrust violations over its LIV response.

Trump is a golf fanatic – those who golf with him say he’s pretty good (although they have that he claims he’s cheating weirdly too). One of his biggest desires in life, it seems, is to watch a big golf tournament come to one of his golf properties. But after entering politics – accusing Mexicans of being rapists – the PGA Tour began to turn away from him. After the January 6 rebellion, those ties were permanently severed as the PGA Championship was withdrawn from Bedminster Club and the British Golf Council made it clear that the British Open would not visit any of Trump’s Scottish resorts.

Meanwhile, the LIV Golf League has released almost nothing but bad titles since it was announced last year. Shortly after his creation, for example, Mickelson admitted to the journalist that fans of the new league were a problem – but indicated that he was willing to live with them.

We know they were killed [Washington Post journalist Jamal] Khashoggi has a terrible human rights record. “They execute people there because they are gay,” Mickelson told the interviewer. “To know all this, why do I think of it first? Because it’s a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to reform the way the PGA Tour works. ”

Since then, almost every promotional event for the league has become ugly as journalists have repeatedly put pressure on golfers to participate. In June, an Associated Press reporter was removed by security from a news conference after asking questions about the league’s finances. LIV golfers were yelled at at the last British Open and were excluded from a traditional pre-tournament dinner.

Amid these controversies, LIV also became involved in Trump’s rescue and agreed to host the July 29-31 tournament in Bedminster. The season finale will be held at the Trump Doral Resort outside Miami. The LIV tournaments do not have the prestige that a PGA Championship or British Open would bring, but they would give Trump cold, hard cash. One golf industry expert said it was not clear how much Trump would pay to host the tournaments. Mother Jones That would probably be several million dollars for Bedminster and would also provide valuable publicity. Trump may need that money. A number of golf clubs have had proposals to lose money over the past few years, and some, like its Scottish resorts, have never made money.

As we noted last year, Trump has a long history of dealing with the Saudis:

In 2015, during his campaign appearances, he bragged about his business dealings with the Saudis. “Saudi Arabia, I deal with all of them,” Trump said. “They buy apartments from me. They spend $ 40 million and $ 50 million. Am I supposed to hate them? I love them very much. ” Shortly before entering the race, Trump aggressively pursues an agreement to build hotels in Jeddah, the city’s gateway to Islam’s holiest cities of Mecca and Medina – an agreement likely to bless senior members of the Saudi royal family will require to be considered.

9/11 President Justice Brett Eggelson, whose father John Bruce Eggelson died on September 11 when the South Tower of the World Trade Center collapsed after being hit by a hijacked plane, says his group hoped Trump would be open about their arguments. Eggelson notes that in 2016, while running for president, Trump expressed the view that the Saudi government had incited the 9/11 attacks, saying that if he were president, his policy would keep terrorists out of the country. has.

The 9/11 Justice Letter to Trump quotes remarks made by former president Fox and friends during his first campaign. “Who blew up the World Trade Center?” Trump said at the time. It was not the Iraqis – they were the Saudis. Take a look at Saudi Arabia. Open the documents. We need to get Bush or someone to open the documents, because honestly if you open the documents, I think you’ll see it’s Saudi Arabia … these people would not have been in the country if my policy had been sound. ”

And 15 of the 19 terrorists who carried out the attacks, which killed more than 3,000 Americans, were Saudi nationals. Questions arose about the role that Saudi intelligence could play in supporting the attackers. Survivors and relatives of victims have for years unsuccessfully urged the federal government to release a bunch of confidential documents collected by investigators who allegedly involved the Saudi government in the attack – documents that Trump referred to in his 2016 interview.

In 2019, Eggelson says he met with several survivors and other family members of Trump at the White House to demand the release of the documents. Personally, Trump is on board to help their cause. But the next day, Bill Barr, the then attorney general, moved to prevent the release.

“He chose to meet with us, he chose to say he would help us, he chose to protect the Saudis from the public spotlight, which is absolutely terrible,” Eggelson said.

The government of Saudi Arabia has denied any responsibility for the attacks, and the 9/11 commission, set up to investigate the tragedy, could not conclusively bind Saudi government officials to the hijackers. Documents that Eggelson requested in that meeting with Trump were finally released in September 2021 by the Biden administration. Most of these documents are heavily edited, and they do not provide conclusive evidence in any way. But it does show that the U.S. government is investigating the matter and that there was a closer relationship between Saudi officials and some of the hijackers than was previously known.

Eggelson says these discoveries have reinforced the argument that the Saudi government should be held accountable for the 9/11 attacks. He, other members of his family and the victims are launching an ongoing lawsuit against the kingdom. Eggelson says the LIV tour is an attempt by Saudi Arabia to wash away its reputation from its misdeeds and turn it into something milder and funnier.

“They are trying to divert America’s attention from all the atrocities they are committing around the world,” he said. “The massive bombing of Yemen, the persecution of women, the murder of homosexuals, any number of things, starting with these FBI documents.”

Eagleson says its organization, which was officially established last month, is impartial in its goals. He notes that although the group did not oppose President Joe Biden’s recent trip to meet with Saudi leader Mohammed bin Salman (because it is still necessary to link politically with the kingdom, Eggelson says), he and other family members and survivors Biden criticized. To continue with the policy of not releasing the investigative file that Trump promised to publish. Eggelson says Biden was not invited from the 9/11 memorial service last year until he released the documents.

Eggelson adds that even if Trump does not cancel the LIV tournaments in his tournaments, he believes the justice of 9/11 raises awareness. The group now plans to protest outside Bedminster on July 29. He was protesting against the LIV Championship in Portland earlier this month. Eagleson says he and his allies will continue to try to raise the issue in future events.

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