Earlier this month, 9/11 Justice, a group established by families of those killed that day, wrote a letter to former president Donald Trump. They asked him to reconsider his decision to host this week’s LIV Golf Invitational at his club in Bedminster, New Jersey, because of fresh evidence of Saudi Arabian involvement in those terrorist attacks.
The tone of their plea suggested they sincerely believed he might possess enough conscience to take a moral stance on their behalf. His response was to issue a public statement urging more pro golfers to “take the money now”, abandon the PGA Tour, and sign up with Greg Norman and his fellow travellers.
Appealing to Trump’s better angels on this issue was naive and misguided. He has a long and tawdry history of disgracing himself when it comes to exploiting the events of September 11th, 2001. Mere hours after the towers fell, he did a phone interview with a New York television station in which he took time to boast that, since the World Trade Center had just fallen, 40 Wall Street, a property he happened to own, was now the tallest building in lower Manhattan. As classless, cringe-inducing and untrue (70 Pine Street was still taller) as that was, it’s far from his worst offence around the tragedy.
On the campaign trail in 2016, Trump spoke about being at Ground Zero “helping a little bit” to clear the rubble in the search for survivors even though he and others working there were placing themselves in great danger from falling debris. Nobody saw him do this. There is no photographic evidence of him lending assistance. How could there be? It never happened. An especially egregious lie given that hundreds of emergency responders and clean-up crew who did sift through that smouldering wreckage have since died from inhaling the toxins there. Truly selfless people sacrificed themselves. Trump made political hay from lying about it.
How the long-suffering souls in 9/11 Justice ever imagined this man might turn down an opportunity to make a hefty buck from the nauseous House of Saud is beyond comprehension. In 2001, this charlatan snaffled $150,000 from a government hardship fund designed to assist struggling small businesses in downtown neighbourhoods affected by the destruction of the towers. He later described the money as financial compensation for allowing emergency crews to stay in his building during the clean-up. Nobody stayed there. A lie to justify a nifty piece of fraud. A staple of his diet.
He said he lost hundreds of friends on 9/11 but attended nary one 9/11-related funeral
“He has said he sent hundreds of ‘my men’ to Ground Zero to assist with the recovery [not one has ever stepped forward, and no officials with the recovery effort can recall this],” wrote Jeff Pearlman, best-selling author, who has catalogued Trump’s serial lying about that day. “He has also claimed that, as the towers fell, he saw (with his own eyes on television!) thousands of Muslims celebrating atop buildings in Jersey City. He also claimed that he watched people jumping from the towers — even though he was four miles away at the time … He said he lost hundreds of friends on 9/11 but attended nary one 9/11-related funeral.”
Against that background of sociopathic mendacity (every single statement so easily proven to be false), it’s not difficult to understand why he will be delighted to host LIV at Bedminster this week, not to mention having the upstart tour’s season finale at Trump Doral Miami in October.
Protesters picketing either venue won’t bother him as he gets to trouser serious money which, given the constant rumours about his financial situation, he may badly need. In return, the Saudi regime gets associated with a brand that, despite all the toxicity, remains dementedly popular among a constituency of Americans evincing such a cult-like devotion to their fallen leader they may well carry him back to the White House 18 months from now.
He’s bitter about the PGA of America moving this year’s PGA Championship from Bedminster after the insurrection at the US Capitol
In the meantime, there’s more immediate revenge to be had. On a New Jersey estate that, appropriately enough, once belonged to another celebrated flim-flammer named John DeLorean, this week represents Trump cocking a snoot at the golf establishment by causing yet more disruption to a professional game that is in a state of real chassis. He’s relishing every ounce of the LIV-related chaos because he’s bitter about the PGA of America moving this year’s PGA Championship from Bedminster after the insurrection at the US Capitol on January 6th. For a true golf nut, that decision hurt. In deciding an attempt to derail American democracy was a bridge too far, they took away what would have been the first Major held on any of his courses and deprived Trump of the one thing his money has never been able to purchase — prestige.
An avid golfer when not working for Westfield Retail Group, Bruce Eagleson was at a meeting on the 17th floor when Flight 175 sliced into the South Tower. The 53-year-old phoned his family and told them he was assisting in the evacuation. They never heard from him again. Decades later, one of his sons founded 9/11 Justice on behalf of his Dad and the nearly 3,000 others who died.
“The former president correctly speculated in 2016 that Saudi Arabia knocked down the towers and now the FBI has released the documents to prove him right,” said Brett Eagleson, who was 15 when he lost his father. “Yet he is choosing money over America.”
Sounds about right.