Trump tells golfers to ‘take the money now’ from Saudi-backed league despite anger of 9/11 families

The Trump National Golf Bedminster course in New Jersey is hosting the next event in the LIV series

Bevan Hurley
Tuesday 19 July 2022 19:44 BST
Trump LIV Golf 9/11 Families
Trump LIV Golf 9/11 Families (Copyright 2020 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.)
Leer en Español

Donald Trump has urged golfers to “take the money now” from LIV Golf, while ignoring pleas from the families of 9/11 victims to shun the Saudi-backed breakaway league.

The Trump National Golf Bedminster course in New Jersey is hosting the next event in the LIV series from 29 to 31 July, and Mr Trump urged golfers to turn their backs on the PGA Tour.

“All of those golfers that remain ‘loyal’ to the very disloyal PGA, in all of its different forms, will pay a big price when the inevitable MERGER with LIV comes, and you get nothing but a big ‘thank you’ from PGA officials who are making Millions of Dollars a year,” Mr Trump wrote on Truth Social Monday.

“If you don’t take the money now, you will get nothing after the merger takes place, and only say how smart the original signees were.”

On Sunday, victims advocacy group 9/11 Justice called on the former president to cancel the event due to alleged ties between Saudi Arabia and al Qaeda.

“The Saudi nation is largely responsible for the death of our loved ones and for the horrific attack on America. And you know it,” said Brett Eagleson, president of 9/11 Justice and the son of a World Trade Center victim John Bruce Eagleson.

Family members said they felt “extreme pain, frustration and anger” as a result of Mr Trump’s decision to host the controversial league.

“The evidence against Saudi Arabia and its role in the attacks is more clear than ever and, despite knowing that, former President Trump has accepted their money and is allowing them to enter a state devastated by 9/11,” Mr Eagleson said.

The Saudi government has denied any involvement in the attacks, and a report by the 9/11 Commission released in 2004 said it had not found any evidence that Saudi institutions of officials had funded the terrorist organisation.

But victims rights groups continue to seek the release of more classified information from US authorities.

In a 2016 Fox News interview, Mr Trump blamed the Saudis for the attack.

“Who blew up the World Trade Center?” he said on Fox & Friends. “It wasn’t the Iraqis — it was Saudi. Take a look at Saudi Arabia. Open the documents.”

The LIV Golf league, headed by Australian golfer Greg Norman, has enticed high-profile players including Phil Mickelson, Dustin Johnson and Louis Oosthuizen to defect from the PGA Tour with the promise of $25m in prize money at each event.

The PGA Tour and Europe-based DP World Tour have issued suspensions and fines on the rebel players.

Mr Eagleson of 9/11 Justice told CNN that Mr Trump’s Bedminster golf course is “in the backyard of where 750 New Jersey residents were murdered.”

In a statement, LIV Golf said: “As we have said all along, these families have our deepest sympathy. While some may not agree, we believe golf is a force for good around the world.”

The PGA Tour voted last year to strip an agreement to play the 2022 PGA Championship at Trump Bedminster after the deadly attack on the US Capitol.

Join our commenting forum

Join thought-provoking conversations, follow other Independent readers and see their replies


Thank you for registering

Please refresh the page or navigate to another page on the site to be automatically logged inPlease refresh your browser to be logged in