9/11 families blast Trump invite to Saudi-backed golf tour

NEW YORK (AP) — A group of Sept. 11 victims' family members who have long accused Saudi Arabia of aiding the terrorists who carried out the attacks are condemning former President Donald Trump for hosting the Saudi-backed LIV golf tour at his New Jersey course later this month.

In a letter to Trump on Sunday, family members said they felt “extreme pain, frustration and anger” as a result of Trump’s decision to host the controversial Saudi-sponsored league at his Trump National Golf Club in Bedminster, New Jersey, for three days starting July 29.

“The evidence against Saudi Arabia and its role in the attacks is more clear than ever and, despite knowing that, former President Trump has accepted their money and is allowing them to enter a state devastated by 9/11,” said Brett Eagleson, president of 9/11 Justice and the son of a World Trade Center attack victim.

Eagleson's group has filed a federal lawsuit accusing Saudi Arabia of being complicit in the attacks that killed nearly 3,000 people on Sept. 11, 2001 and has sought the release of classified FBI documents related to the Saudis' role in the attacks.

The Saudi government has denied any involvement in the attacks. But the family members said Trump, a Republican, blamed the Saudis himself in a 2016 Fox News interview. “Who blew up the World Trade Center?” Trump said on “Fox & Friends.” “It wasn’t the Iraqis — it was Saudi. Take a look at Saudi Arabia. Open the documents.”

Requests for comment on the Sept. 11 family group's letter were sent Monday to representatives for Trump.

In an email, Jane MacNeille, LIV Golf's senior vice president for player and franchise communications, said, “These families have our deepest sympathy. While some may not agree, we believe golf is a force for good around the world."

Critics have accused the LIV Golf series, set up as a rival to the PGA Tour, of ignoring Saudi Arabia's record of human rights abuses including the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi.

Democratic President Joe Biden met Friday with Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman and said afterward that the prince told him he was “not personally responsible” for Khashoggi's death. “I indicated I thought he was,” the president said he replied.