Trump: LIV Golf tournament a ‘great thing’ for Saudi Arabia
Former President Trump said LIV Golf, a Saudi-backed league that is holding an event at his Bedminster, N.J., golf club this week, is a “great thing” for Saudi Arabia.
Trump told The Wall Street Journal on Monday that the tournament has been worth “billions of dollars” in publicity for Saudi Arabia.
“I think LIV has been a great thing for Saudi Arabia, for the image of Saudi Arabia,” he said. “I think it’s going to be an incredible investment from that standpoint, and that’s more valuable than lots of other things because you can’t buy that — even with billions of dollars.”
Critics of Saudi Arabia have called the golf league a blatant effort at “sports washing” as the oil-rich monarchy, led by Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salmon, seeks to gloss over human rights abuses and the 2018 killing of Washington Post journalist Jamal Khashoggi.
The families of 9/11 victims have criticized Trump’s decision to host the event at his golf club, noting that he had previously blamed Saudi Arabia for the attacks. Most of the terrorists on Sept. 11, 2001, were Saudi, but the government has denied involvement in the attacks.
Trump told the Journal that he understands the 9/11 families’ feelings but does not know much about their stance. He added that the controversy surrounding Khashoggi’s death has “totally died down.”
LIV Golf has caused controversy by luring several prominent PGA Tour players, such as Phil Mickelson and Brooks Koepka, with its guaranteed payout regardless of performance in the tournament.
Last week, Trump urged other PGA Tour players to join the LIV tour, predicting that the two leagues would eventually merge and PGA Tour holdouts would lose out due to their loyalty.
“All of those golfers that remain ‘loyal’ to the very disloyal PGA, in all of its different forms, will pay a big price when the inevitable MERGER with LIV comes, and you get nothing but a big ‘thank you’ from PGA officials who are making Millions of Dollars a year,” Trump wrote on his Truth Social platform.
In his interview with the Journal, Trump pointed to Saudi Arabia’s investments in American companies and other sports like soccer and said that the kingdom deserves the publicity it is receiving because what it is doing is “very exciting.”
Months after leaving the White House, Trump’s son-in-law Jared Kushner secured a $2 billion investment from a Saudi fund for his own private equity firm, The New York Times reported.
The Journal reported that the Trump National Doral Miami golf resort will host another LIV event later this year.