9/11 survivors say Donald Trump ‘turned his back’ on them by hosting Saudi-funded LIV Golf Tournament

Former President Donald Trump (left) is hosting the LIV Tournament, which is funded by Saudi Arabia, at his private club in New Jersey (Pictures: Getty Images)

A group of survivors and their families are protesting a Saudi-funded golf tournament at ’s private club in New Jersey, saying the former president turned his back on them.

The , a professional golf tournament designed to compete with the PGA and created by the Saudi sovereign wealth fund, is set to begin on Friday at Trump National Golf Club in Bedminster.

, a group of survivors and their families, are set on rallying against the tournament outside the club. They say hosting the tournament so close to Ground Zero is disrespectful considering the Saudi Arabia’s alleged ties to the terrorist attacks.

‘It’s reprehensible that they have turned their backs on us,’ said Tim Frolich, a 9/11 survivor who was seriously injured in the attack, told Metro.co.uk on Thursday.

Tim Frolich will share his story at a protest taking place near the Trump National Golf Club in Bedminster on Friday (Picture: YouTube)

‘The mass murder of our spouses, parents, children, and siblings left us with a lifetime of grief and pain. That pain fuels our ongoing fight to hold Saudi Arabia accountable for its role in the attacks and what they have taken from each of us,’ the group said in an open letter to Trump on July 17.

‘It is incomprehensible to us, Mr Trump, that a former president of the United States would cast our loved ones aside for personal financial gain.’

The connection between certain Saudi government officials and the 9/11 hijackers was made public after the Biden administration in March.

Additionally, 15 of the 19 hijackers on 9/11 were Saudi Arabian nationals.

Brett Eagleson, who was 15 when his father Bruce was Ki**ed in the terrorist attack in New York, is among the speakers at a news conference with other 9/11 survivors and their families (Picture: AP)

‘There is no company or entity that should be doing business with the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia right now without knowing these facts, without knowing what they did 20 years ago,’ said Frolich.

9/11 Justice described the tournament as taking place ‘in the shadow of Ground Zero’. A total of 674 New Jerseyans died during the attacks.

‘It’s possible that one or both of those planes flew over the Bedminster golf course on the way to the towers,’ Frolich said.

Many protesters have noted that Trump seemingly reversed his position on this issue since running for office. They specifically point to a comment Trump made on the campaign trail in 2016.

Former President Donald Trump plays a private round of golf with pros prior to the LIV Golf Invitational at the Trump National Golf Club in Bedminster (Picture: Getty Images)

In an interview on Fox & Friends, Trump said: ‘Who blew up the World Trade Center? It wasn’t the Iraqis – it was Saudi. Take a look at Saudi Arabia. Open the documents. We ought to get Bush or somebody to have the documents opened because frankly if you open the documents, I think you are going to see it was Saudi Arabia… Those people would have not been in the country had my policies been intact.’

Juliette Scauso, the daughter of 9/11 victim Dennis Scauso, told : ‘Trump was right. But now he’s taking money from them.’

Some members of 9/11 Justice were even given the opportunity to meet with Trump on the anniversary of the attacks in 2019.

‘On September 11, 2019, President Trump was gracious enough to have families at the White House,’ Frolich said. ‘I walked up to him, shook his hand, and he said, “Yes, I am going to help you.”‘

Former President Donald Trump plays a round with Yasir al-Rumayyan, head of the sovereign wealth fund of Saudi Arabia and private banker for Mohammed bin Salman (Picture: Getty Images)

When news that the tournament would take place in Bedminster broke, the group asked to meet with the former president to share their concerns with him directly.

This time, they were met mostly with silence.

9/11 Truth President Brett Eagleson spoke with one of the former president’s aides, but the phone call had ‘little to no value’, according to .

The LIV Tournament is the creation of the Public Investment Fund, the sovereign wealth fund of Saudi Arabia, which is chaired by the country’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.

Donald Trump called the LIV Tournament’s Saudi backers ‘friends’ in an interview with ESPN (Picture: Getty Images)

In recent years the Public Investment Fund has been criticized for its use in laundering Saudi Arabia’s image to the rest of the world through ‘sportswashing’.

In 2021, the Public Investment Fund lead a consortium to purchase FC, which lead to .

Earlier this month, the fund also purchased a 17% stake in , a deal which included taking over their Formula 1 team.

The tour has attracted some big name golf pros, including Phil Mickelson, Dustin Johnson and Bryson DeChambeau.

Kanian Aiken (right) and Terrease Aiken’s (left) father, Terrance, was Ki**ed in the September 11th terrorist attacks in New York. Kimberly says her husband had just started his first week at Marsh & McLennan when the attacks occurred (Picture: AP)

When pressed on the tournament’s connection to the Public Investment Fund, Trump justified his decision by emphasizing his trust in his business partners.

‘I’ve known these people for a long time in Saudi Arabia, they’ve been friends of mine for a long time, they’ve invested in many American companies,’ he said in an interview on .

Asked specifically about the concerns of the 9/11 survivors, Trump did not answer the question, instead saying that ‘nobody has gotten to the bottom of 9/11, unfortunately, and they should have’.

‘As to the maniacs that did that horrible thing to our city, to our country, to the world, so nobody’s really been there,’ he continued. ‘But I can tell you that there are a lot of really great people who are out here today, and we’re going to have a lot of fun, and we’re going to celebrate.’

Still, others have pointed to the 2018 murder of Saudi dissident Jamal Khashoggi, whose killers had ties to the Public Investment Fund’s chairman, bin Salman.

The LIV Golf Tournament is not scheduled to be broadcast on television, but it will be livestreamed from the tournament’s website and its YouTube and Facebook channels.

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