Trump defends hosting Saudi-backed LIV Golf tour amid backlash from 9/11 families – CBS News

Trump defends hosting Saudi-backed LIV Golf tour amid backlash from 9/11 families – CBS News

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By Nikki Battiste
Updated on: July 28, 2022 / 7:58 PM / CBS News
Before teeing off on Thursday, 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.
“Nobody’s gotten to the bottom of 9/11, unfortunately. And they should have,” he told ESPN. 
Last September, an FBI report showed evidence that two Saudi officials provided support to 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, U.S. intelligence officials concluded in 2018, authorized the murder of Washington Post columnist Jamal Khashoggi. 
“I’ve known these people for a long time in Saudi Arabia and they have been friends of mine for a long time,” Trump said. 
LIV Golf launched this summer and is poaching stars from the PGA Tour by paying them huge fees for joining and big payouts for winning. The winner of this week’s event will be awarded $4 million — nearly $1.5 million more than the Masters Tournament’s top prize. 
Earlier this week, 9/11 families released an ad that said, “I am never going to forgive the golfers for taking this blood money.” 
Dennis McGinley, whose brother died at the World Trade Center, said he was shocked to learn that Trump’s golf course would host the LIV tournament. 
“It’s anger beyond comprehension,” McGinley told CBS News. “This has been a David-versus-Goliath fight. I just wish these golfers, the sports icons, a former president would stand with the Davids and not with the Goliath.” 
On Wednesday night, Trump and former first lady Melania Trump partied with some of the LIV players, including Dustin Johnson, whose reported contracts are upwards of $100 million each. 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 raw. 
“The 9/11 community has had to grow a really thick skin over the last 21 years,” he said. “This is such a kick in the gut, a ripping open of the wound again.”
Nikki Battiste is a CBS News correspondent based in New York.
First published on July 28, 2022 / 7:37 PM
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