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Family members of 9/11 victims push back on Trump for hosting Saudi-backed golf tournament

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A group of Americans who lost family members in the 11 September 2001 terrorist attacks on the World Trade Centre is expressing outrage at former president Donald Trump’s decision to allow his Bedminster, New Jersey, golf club to host a stop on the Saudi-backed LIV golf tour, citing Saudi Arabia’s role “in organizing and carrying out the 9/11 attacks that killed 2,977 Americans”.

In a letter to Mr Trump, the group, which calls itself 9/11 Justice, said his decision to allow his golf club to host an LIV event has caused “deep pain and anger” for them. They cited his previous statements casting blame for the attacks on Saudi Arabia, the place where the vast majority of the terrorists who hijacked a pair of widebody jets and flew them into the New York City landmark skyscrapers came from.

They noted Mr Trump previously acknowledged the Saudi government’s complicity during a 2016 appearance on Fox News, in which he called for the release of documents which purportedly confirmed the kingdom’s role in the attacks. Those documents were declassified by President Joe Biden in 2021, just before the 20th anniversary of the attacks.

“Mr. President, the documents are now open … and they reveal what we, and apparently you, have known all along. The Kingdom materially supported the planning and execution of these attacks,” they wrote, adding that reports compiled by the Federal Bureau of Investigation have laid out “the details of the numerous connections of U.S.-based ‘personnel and entities controlled by the Saudi Arabian government’ to the al-Qaeda terrorist attacks”.

“This includes the FBI’s ‘investigations and supporting documentation’ regarding the religious ‘militant network that was created, funded, directed and supported by the [Kingdom of Saudi Arabia] and its affiliated organizations and diplomaticpersonnel within the US,’” they said.

“Given what you said on FOX, and the commitment you made to numerous 9/11 family members when meeting with them at the White House on September 11, 2019, we simply cannot understand how you could agree to accept money from the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia’s golf league to host their tournament at your golf course, and to do so in the shadows of Ground Zero in New Jersey, which lost over 700 residents during the attacks,” they continued.

The 9/11 family members also asked Mr Trump for an opportunity to discuss their concerns with him and urged him to “cease further business with the regime that was complicit in the murder of [their] loved ones”. They added that it was “incomprehensible” to them that a former President of the United States would “cast [their] loved ones aside for personal financial gain”.

Despite Mr Trump’s 2016 call to declassify information pertaining to the Saudi kingdom’s role in the 9/11 attacks, he never took any action to do so during his time in office.

Mr Trump is not the only member of his family to profit from the relationship with the Saudis developed during his term in the White House. His son-in-law and former White House senior adviser, Jared Kushner, recently opened a private equity fund that received a $2 billion investment from a Saudi sovereign wealth fund.

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