Donald Trump, the first fan of a golf tournament financed by Saudi Arabia

The couple is smiling, white teeth matching the dress and the shirt, and ignores the controversy. Wednesday in New York, donald and Melanie Trump made a remarkable appearance at the launch party of LIV Golf International, a golf tournament organized this weekend at the Trump National Golf Club in Bedminster (New Jersey) and in which he participates. A way for the former American president to reconnect with this sport he loves so much, but which has distanced itself: the PGA Tour, the circuit of professional golfers, no longer organizes events in the clubs of the Trump Organization since the invasion of the Capitol which tied the end of the billionaire’s mandate.

Donald Trump golfing in Bedminster, July 28, 2022.

Jonathan Ferrey/LIV Golf/Getty Images

Upset by this very public abandonment, Donald Trump retains a heavy resentment towards the “very disloyal” PGA Tour, of which he predicts on his Truth Social site “an inevitable FUSION with LIV” which will put him indelicately all the golfers who have remained faithful to the original circuit. “If you don’t take the money now, you won’t have anything when the merger takes place and you can only say that the early adopters were smart”. Another LIV tournament will take place at the Trump Club in Doral, Florida next October, with 14 events scheduled for next year. A rise in power frowned upon by the PGA Tour: all golfers participating in a LIV tournament, “who turn their backs on what allowed them to reach this level” in the words of champion Tiger Woods, are suspended from the circuit .

Investments in the world of sport, a tool for sweet power

In addition to the rivalries stoked by Donald Trump, this LIV Golf International exudes a scent of scandal because it is financed by the Saudi sovereign wealth fund headed by Mohammad Bin Salmanthe ubiquitous crown prince accused of ordering the assassination of critical columnist Jamal Khashoggi, who was killed in the Saudi consulate in Istanbul in October 2018. It is one of the prince’s many investments in the world of sport, a tool of sweet power taken by Saudi Arabia in recent years.

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Donald Trump’s decision has also angered relatives of victims and survivors of the September 11 attacks, who denounce the role of Saudi authorities in the attacks – fifteen of the suicide bombers were Saudis. Brett Eagleson, director of an association of victims, intends to go there on Friday and challenge the participants: “Without the support of the Saudi government given to the terrorists, September 11 would not have taken place. We want golfers to know who they are dealing with, we want to teach them and bring to light the new evidence of the Saudis’ role in 9/11,” he told the Washington Post.

“Former President Takes Advantage Of Those Accused Of Killing Our Loved Ones”

According to Brett Eagleson, the proximity between Donald Trump and Saudi Arabia could taint the political future of the billionaire, probably a candidate for the next presidential election: “It is doomed to failure to have a former president who takes advantage of those who are accused of having killed our loved ones,” he summarized to the New York Times. The daily recalls that the Saudi sovereign wealth fund has also invested two billion dollars in a company managed by Jared Kushner, kind and former adviser to Donald Trump, and one billion in another led by Steven Mnuchin, secretary of the Treasury of the Trump presidency.

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