Relatives of people killed on Sept. 11 are urging former President Donald J. Trump to cancel a Saudi-backed golf tournament set to be held this month at Trump National Golf Club Bedminster in New Jersey.
In a letter dated Sunday, members of the group 9/11 Justice asked to meet with Mr. Trump and urged him not to host the event, set for July 29 to 31, noting that Mr. Trump has blamed Saudi Arabia for the attack.
“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 wrote in the letter.
“It is incomprehensible to us that a former president of the United States would cast our loved ones aside for personal financial gain,” they wrote to Mr. Trump, who is expected to run for president again in 2024. “We hope you will reconsider your business relationship with the Saudi golf league and will agree to meet with us.”
In the letter, the group noted that Mr. Trump told Fox News in February 2016: “Who blew up the World Trade Center? It wasn’t the Iraqis. It was Saudi. Take a look at Saudi Arabia.” He went on to say: “The people came, most of the people came from Saudi Arabia. They didn’t come from Iraq.”
On Sunday night, Brett Eagleson, the president of 9/11 Justice, said he emailed the letter to a Trump aide in the afternoon and had not received a response.
Mr. Eagleson, who was 15 when his father died on Sept. 11, said the stakes here were clear. It is “allowing the Saudis to literally get away with murder if this golf tournament is allowed to proceed,” he said in an interview.
“It just sends a message that with the right amount of money, you can make people forget about anything,” he said, adding, “If anyone knows the extent of the Saudi role in 9/11, it’s Trump.”
Messages left at Mr. Trump’s club in Bedminster, and with a spokesman for Mr. Trump, were also not immediately answered.
The Saudi-sponsored golf league is part of a campaign by the Saudi crown prince, Mohammed bin Salman, to refresh the kingdom’s image in the eyes of the world.
The man who defeated Mr. Trump in 2020, President Biden, has recently faced criticism for his own connection to Saudi Arabia. Last week during a Middle East trip, Mr. Biden fist-bumped Prince Mohammed, who was judged responsible by the C.I.A. for the 2018 killing of the Washington Post journalist Jamal Khashoggi.
Mr. Biden said he confronted Prince Mohammed about the killing during a closed-door meeting with him; Saudi officials contradicted his account.
Source: NY Times