May 19, 2024

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‘Totally Died Down:’ Trump Defends Hosting Saudi-Backed LIV Golf Tournament, Downplays Khashoggi Killing

Previous President Donald Trump defended Saudi Arabia’s involvement with the global LIV Golf circuit, which is set to have a tournament at 1 of his golf clubs. Trump asserted that the tour was a potent publicity boon for the Saudis and downplayed criticism of Saudi Arabia around the assassination in 2018 of Washington Put up columnist Jamal Khashoggi.

In an interview with the Wall Road Journal on Monday, Trump said that LIV Golf is “worth billions of dollars” in publicity for the kingdom. The circuit, a immediate competitor of the PGA Tour, is set to host its 3rd tournament on July 29 at the Trump National Golfing Club in Bedminster, New Jersey.

LIV Golf received financing from Saudi Arabia’s sovereign wealth fund, Public Investment decision Fund, a physique that is chaired by Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, regarded as MBS, who U.S. intelligence underneath the Trump administration assessed ordered Khashoggi’s killing at the Saudi consulate in Istanbul.

Questioned about the criticism that Saudi Arabia was employing sporting functions like LIV Golf to distract from its human legal rights history, Trump insisted that the controversy in excess of Khashoggi was proficiently more than. 

“I can say that from the standpoint of Khashoggi, that has died down so substantially. It really appears to be to have fully died down,” Trump told the Journal. “No one has questioned me that query in months.”

After Khashoggi was killed, the kingdom and its crown prince have been subject to intensive criticism. Beneath the Biden administration, the U.S. sanctioned 76 Saudi officers. The Biden administration also produced portion of the intelligence discovering that pointed blame on MBS for Khashoggi’s killing. 

A Vigil is held at Saudi Embassy for Journalist Jamal Khashoggi The Committee to Defend Journalists and other push liberty activists maintain a candlelight vigil in entrance of the Saudi Embassy to mark the anniversary of the killing of journalist Jamal Khashoggi at the kingdom’s consulate in Istanbul, Wednesday night in Washington, U. Picture: Reuters / Sarah Silbiger

Trump had positioned himself as a robust ally of Riyadh throughout his administration. Amid the outcry around Khashoggi’s murder, Trump resisted force from Congress to keep MBS accountable, citing the economic proportions of U.S.-Saudi relations and its function in opposing Iran in the Center East.

Jared Kushner, Trump’s son-in-legislation and a previous White Residence adviser, also has company ties with the PIF, a marriage that has appear less than the microscope with Dwelling Democrats. In 2021, General public Expenditure Fund invested $2 billion into a non-public fairness company fashioned by Kushner and $1 billion in an investment fund founded by Steven Mnuchin, who served as Treasury Secretary throughout the Trump administration.

Biden has also confronted criticism over his handling of relations with Saudi Arabia, which includes for a photographed fist bump with MBS on his vacation to the kingdom earlier this thirty day period. Saudi human rights and opposition activists were harshly essential of Biden for making the journey, arguing that it performed towards rehabilitating MBS. 

Trump’s patronage of the Saudi-backed LIV circuit was also criticized by family members customers of the victims of the 9/11 attacks in 2001. The families assailed the tournament and its players for accepting Saudi income and termed on Trump to terminate the event. Brett Eagleson, a founder of 9/11 Justice, referred to as Trump’s praise of Saudi Arabia “disgraceful” and “egregious” in an interview with the Washington Article.

Trump has not instantly resolved these problems, insisting rather that he was unfamiliar with their allegations. Saudi Arabia has frequently denied any involvement in the 9/11 attacks. Fifteen of the 19 hijackers on 9/11 were citizens of Saudi Arabia.

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