According to The Palm Beach Post, the return of LIV Golf to a property owned by Donald Trump has reignited controversy and pain within the 9/11 community. In response, 9/11 Families United, an organization representing survivors and friends of those affected by the September 11th attacks, sent a letter to the former president expressing their concerns about his business relationship with Saudi Arabia and the impact it has on their community.
LIV Golf, a golf league financed by Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund, will be hosting its seventh event of the season at Trump National in Potomac Falls, Virginia. This is one of three tournaments being played on courses owned by Donald Trump, including Trump National Doral.
The association between Trump and LIV Golf serves as a painful reminder for many of the alleged involvement of Saudi officials in the 9/11 attacks. Declassified U.S. intelligence agency files have revealed evidence of financial and logistical support provided by at least a dozen Saudi officials to the perpetrators of the attacks, of whom 15 were Saudi citizens.
The upcoming LIV Golf event holds particular significance as it is being held just 30 miles from the Pentagon, where one of the planes hijacked on 9/11 crashed, claiming the lives of all 64 people on board and 125 in the Pentagon. The proximity to this tragic site amplifies the emotional impact for the 9/11 community.
Terry Strada, National Chairwoman of 9/11 Families United and widow of Tom Strada, who died in the World Trade Center’s north tower, penned a letter to Donald Trump requesting a meeting at his Virginia club before the event. However, the group has not received a response from Trump.
In the past, Trump has participated in LIV Golf events and praised the organization and its Saudi backers. Strada previously met with Trump in 2019 to discuss U.S. intelligence reports regarding Saudi Arabia’s role in the 9/11 attacks, urging him to reconsider his business ties with the kingdom due to the pain it inflicts on the 9/11 families.
The concept of “sportswashing” has also emerged, with many viewing LIV Golf as an attempt by Saudi Arabia to divert attention from its human rights violations. Protests and rallies have taken place during some LIV events, including one held at Bedminster, which is only 50 miles away from the former location of the World Trade Center’s twin towers.
“The Saudis are willing to spend billions (on LIV) to ‘sportswash’ its horrific reputation and human rights record,” she wrote. “According to federal court documents filed earlier this year, Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund has generated virtually no revenue from its sponsorship of the LIV Golf League, despite spending over $784 million to bankroll its first season alone. That of course includes paying an unknown, but likely significant, amount of money to the Trump Organization to host its events.”