• Tue. Nov 29th, 2022

LIV Golf: Donald Trump tells golfers to join controversial tour and ‘take the money now’

ByChad J. Johnson

Jul 19, 2022

“All of those golfers who remain ‘faithful’ to the very treacherous PGA, in all its various guises, will pay a heavy price when the inevitable MERGER with LIV arrives, and you’ll get nothing but a big ‘thank you’ PGA officials who earn millions of dollars a year,” Trump wrote on Truth Social Monday.

“If you don’t take the money now, you won’t get anything after the merger, and only say the intelligence of the original signatories.”

His comments come as families of 9/11 victims urged him to cancel the tournament, citing Saudi support for LIV Golf, according to a letter sent to Trump on Sunday.

The allegations of complicity of the Saudi government with the attacks of September 11, 2001, have long been the subject of dispute in Washington. Fifteen of the 19 al-Qaeda terrorists who hijacked four planes were Saudi nationals, but the Saudi government has denied any involvement in the attacks.

The 9/11 Commission established by Congress said in 2004 that it found “no evidence that the Saudi government as an institution or senior Saudi officials individually funded” al-Qaeda.

Still, the families of the victims have pushed for new revelations, and last year the FBI released a document that details their work to investigate the alleged logistical support that a Saudi consular official and an alleged Saudi intelligence agent to Los Angeles provided at least two hijackers.

“The nation of Saudi Arabia is largely responsible for the deaths of our loved ones and the horrific attack on America. And you know it,” Justice, which represents survivors and members of the families of terrorist attacks.

Brett Eagleson is an advocate for the group and his father, John Bruce Eagleson, was among those who died in the World Trade Center attacks. Eagleson told CNN the decision to hold the tournament was “unconscionable.”

In the letter, he says the decision caused “deep pain and anger” among voters, given Saudi Arabia’s alleged role in the attacks and material support for al-Qaeda, as pointed out by the FBI reports.

“The FBI notes that a great deal of information has come to light since the 9/11 Commission released its report in 2004,” Eagleson writes in the letter, “and repeatedly refers to the existence of ‘support networks’ US-based Saudis for 9/11. 11 hijackers.”

In an email, Eagleson pointed out that the golf course where LIV is expected to play is “in the backyard of where 750 New Jerseyans were murdered.”

“The former president rightly speculated in 2016 that Saudi Arabia overthrew the towers and now the FBI has released the documents to prove him right,” Eagleson told CNN, “yet he chooses the money over America. Too bad for America first. A sad day.”

The group is asking that members visit the former president in the coming days to discuss their concerns and urge him to “cease any further business with the regime that was complicit in the murder of our loved ones,” according to the letter.

LIV Golf released a statement in response to the letter on Monday.

“As we have always said, these families have our deepest sympathy. Although some may disagree, we believe golf is a force for good around the world.”

CNN has reached out to representatives for Trump and the Trump National Golf Club in Bedminster for comment.

In particular, last year the PGA Tour voted to terminate the agreement to play the 2022 PGA Championship at Trump Bedminster. The decision came after the violent attack on the US Capitol by Trump supporters.

What is LIV Golf?

So far, the tour has held two tournaments – in London and near Portland, Oregon. The circuit’s season-ending event is scheduled for late October at Trump National Doral Miami in Florida.

In June, PGA Tour Commissioner Jay Monahan announced that all member golfers playing in the controversial Saudi-backed LIV Golf Invitational series were suspended and would no longer be eligible to play in PGA Tour tournaments.

The U.S. Department of Justice is investigating the PGA Tour over possible antitrust violations involving LIV Golf, the PGA Tour confirmed to CNN last week.

Several top golfers such as Phil Mickelson, Dustin Johnson, Bryson DeChambeau and Brooks Koepka have joined LIV, which is led by former world No. 1 Greg Norman and backed by Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund (PIF) – a sovereign wealth fund chaired by Mohammed bin Salman, Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia.

CNN’s Kevin Dotson contributed to this report.