LIV Golf: Donald Trump tells golfers to join controversial tour and ‘take the money now’

“All those golfers who remain ‘loyal’ to the deeply disloyal PGA, in all its various forms, will pay a big price when the inevitable MERGER with LIV comes, and you’ll get nothing but a big ‘thank you’ from PGA officials who have sent millions. dollars a year,” Trump wrote on Truth Social Monday.

“If you don’t take the money now, you won’t get anything after the merger, just saying how smart the original signatories were.”

His comments come after families of 9/11 victims urged him to cancel the tournament, citing LIV Golf’s Saudi support, according to a letter sent to Trump on Sunday.

The Saudi government’s allegations of complicity in the September 11, 2001 attacks have long been the subject of debate in Washington. Fifteen of the 19 al-Qaeda terrorists who hijacked four planes were Saudi citizens, but the Saudi government has denied any involvement in the attacks.

The 9/11 Commission, set up by Congress, said in 2004 it had found “no evidence that the Saudi government as an institution or senior Saudi officials individually” was funding al-Qaeda.

Still, the victims’ families have pushed for further disclosures, and last year the FBI released a document detailing their work to investigate the alleged logistical support provided by a Saudi consular officer and a suspected Saudi intelligence agent in Los Angeles to at least two hijackers.

“The Saudi nation is largely responsible for the deaths of our loved ones and for the horrific attack on America. And you know it,” 9/11 Justice, who represents survivors and relatives of the terrorist attacks, said in the letter.

Brett Eagleson is an advocate for the group and his father, John Bruce Eagleson, was one of those killed in the World Trade Center attacks. Eagleson told CNN that the decision to host the tournament is “unreasonable.”

In the letter, he says the decision has caused “deep pain and anger” among voters, given Saudi Arabia’s alleged role in the attacks and material support for Al Qaeda, as detailed in FBI reports.

“The FBI notes that much information has come to light since the 9/11 Commission published its report in 2004,” Eagleson writes in the letter, “and repeatedly refers to the existence of US-based Saudi ‘support networks’.” for the 9/9.11 hijackers.”

Families of 9/11 Victims Speak Out Against LIV Golf Tournaments Coming to the US.

In an email, Eagleson emphasized that the golf course where LIV will play “is in the backyard where 750 New Jersey residents were murdered.”

“The former president correctly speculated in 2016 that Saudi Arabia brought down the towers and now the FBI has released the documents to prove his point,” Eagleson told CNN, “but he prefers money over America. So much for America First. sad day.”

The group is asking for members to visit the former president in the coming days to discuss their concerns and urge him to “discontinue further business with the regime complicit in the murder of our loved ones.” said the letter.

LIV Golf released a statement Monday in response to the letter.

“As we’ve said all along, these families have our deepest sympathy. While some may disagree, we believe golf is a force for good around the world.”

CNN has reached out to representatives for Trump and the Trump National Golf Club in Bedminster for comment.

Notably, last year, the PGA Tour voted to end its agreement to play the 2022 PGA Championship at Trump Bedminster. The decision came after the violent attack on the US Capitol by Trump supporters.

What is LIV wave?

The tour has held two tournaments so far – in London and near Portland, Oregon. The circuit’s season-ending event will take place at Trump National Doral Miami in Florida in late October.

In June, PGA Tour Commissioner Jay Monahan announced that all affiliate golfers who played in the controversial Saudi-backed LIV Golf Invitational Series had been suspended and would no longer be eligible to participate in PGA Tour tournaments.

The US Department of Justice is investigating the PGA Tour over possible antitrust violations involving LIV Golf, the PGA Tour confirmed to CNN last week.

Several top golfers such as Phil Mickelson, Dustin Johnson, Bryson DeChambeau and Brooks Koepka have joined LIV, which is led by former world No. 1 Greg Norman and backed by Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund (PIF) – a state-owned equity fund which is chaired by Mohammed bin Salman, the crown prince of Saudi Arabia.

Kevin Dotson of CNN contributed to this report.