United States: a Saudi golf tournament at Donald Trump creates controversy

United States: a Saudi golf tournament at Donald Trump creates controversy

The tournament, financed by Saudi Arabia, will take place in the private club of the former American president, a few kilometers from the twin towers which collapsed during the attacks of September 11, 2021.

Irespectful”, “hurtful”: for Brett Eagleson, the holding, a few kilometers from the place where terrorists killed his father on September 11, 2001, of a golf tournament financially supported by Saudi Arabia in the private club of the ex-President Donald Trump, is an affront.

“It is extremely disrespectful, hurtful and painful,” Mr. Eagleson, who came to demonstrate on Friday with other relatives of victims and survivors of the World Trade Center attacks in front of the Trump National Golf Club in Bedminster, told AFP. in New Jersey, which hosts a dissident LIV Golf circuit competition for three days.

Brett Eagleson, who was 15 when his father died under the rubble of the twin towers on September 11, is the head of an association of families of victims, called 9/11 Justice, holding Saudi Arabia as an accomplice of the attacks. Fifteen of the 19 hijackers were Saudi nationals, in addition to al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden, who orchestrated the attacks. An FBI memo released last year also hinted at potential Saudi government involvement, although Riyadh flatly denies the accusations.

Another LIV event will take place at a Donald Trump club – in Doral, Florida, from October 27 to 30 – when the former president himself estimated during the 2016 presidential campaign, without proof, that the Saudi Arabia was partly responsible for the attacks.

Now ‘he is making the choice to welcome the kingdom to his land, a stone’s throw from where 750 people have been killed,’ Mr Eagleson exclaims in reference to the number of New Jerseyans who have died in the September 11 attacks. “It’s completely infuriating,” he continues.

Partly financed by the Saudi public investment fund and headed by former world No.1 Greg Norman, the LIV Golf circuit is trying to attract the big names in golf with juicy contracts that can reach several hundred million dollars. dollars.

Several human rights groups have criticized the new circuit, which they say only exists to restore the international image of Saudi Arabia, a maneuver known as “sportswashing”. A keen golfer, Donald Trump has proven himself a staunch supporter of LIV, urging players to “take the money”, and has signed with the tour. The Republican himself played Thursday in Bedminster in a mixed professional and amateur format, alongside two champions recruited by LIV, Bryson DeChambeau and Dustin Johnson.

Money before morality

For Brett Eagleson, Donald Trump’s commitment to LIV will cost him politically, as the 76-year-old billionaire openly flirts with the idea of ​​running again in 2024.

“Some of our greatest 9/11 activists come from families of firefighters and police officers in New York. And they have been some of Trump’s biggest supporters. Well, it’s over, ”said the 36-year-old man. The organizers of the LIV tournament have already offered the families of victims of September 11 “their sincere condolences”.

But for Tim Frolich, survivor of the attacks, the tournament has reopened old wounds. “I had trouble sleeping last night, because of anger”, details the fifty-year-old to AFP while photos of victims are brandished by their relatives, who wear “Let’s never forget” T-shirts. .

Mr Eagleson’s father, Bruce, was at a meeting on the 17th floor of the South Tower when terrorists crashed Flight 175 into the skyscraper. He was 53 years old. Bruce Eagleson was a huge golf fan and his favorite player was Phil Mickelson, among the first stars of the profession to agree to join the LIV Tour.

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