Trump defends hosting Saudi Arabia-backed LIV golf tour amid backlash from 9/11 families
Before Thursday’s tee-off, former President Donald Trump defended hosting a controversial Saudi-backed golf tournament at his Bedminster club in New Jersey, just 50 miles from Ground Zero.
“Unfortunately, nobody got to the bottom of 9/11. And they should have done that,” he told ESPN.
last september,that two Saudi officials supported at least two of the 9/11 terrorists. Fifteen of the 19 hijackers were Saudi nationals.
Trump praised the LIV Golf Tour, which is backed by Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman – who, US intelligence officials noted in 2018,by Washington Post columnist Jamal Khashoggi.
“I’ve known these people in Saudi Arabia for a long time and they’ve been friends of mine for a long time,” Trump said.
LIV Golf was launched this summer and isby paying them huge fees to join and big payouts for winning. The winner of this week’s event will receive $4 million – almost $1.5 million more than the Masters tournament grand prize.
earlier this week,ran an ad that said, “I will never forgive the golfers for taking this blood money.”
Dennis McGinley, whose brother died at the World Trade Center, said he was shocked to learn Trump’s golf course would host the LIV tournament.
“It’s an incredible amount of anger,” McGinley told CBS News. “This was a battle between David and Goliath. I just wish these golfers, the sporting icons, a former president, would side with the Davids and not with Goliath.”
On Wednesday night, Trump and former first lady Melania Trump celebrated with some of the LIV players, including Dustin Johnson, whose reported contracts are each in excess of $100 million. When asked for confirmation, LIV Golf told CBS News, “We do not comment on confidential contracts.”
But for McGinley and others who lost loved ones on 9/11, the pain is still unbearable.
“The 9/11 community has had to grow a really thick skin over the past 21 years,” he said. “It’s like a kick in the pit of the stomach, a reopening of the wound.”