9/11 families protest Saudi-backed LIV golf tournament

BEDMINSTER, NJ – A group of gloomy and tearful protesters stood between two American flags behind a public library, in stark contrast to...


BEDMINSTER, NJ – A group of gloomy and tearful protesters stood between two American flags behind a public library, in stark contrast to the festivities at a golf tournament three miles down the road. They made their statements and promoted their cause, but refused to take the fight to the gates of Trump National Golf Club Bedminster.

“We’re glad people are refocusing their attention on this issue,” said Jay Winuk, one of the protest organizers. “There is no reason to go to the scene where another atrocity is taking place.”

The group, a group of family members of victims of the September 11 terrorist attacks, has spoken out vehemently against the Saudi-backed LIV golf tournament being held this weekend at the club owned by a former President, Donald J. Trump.

The group, 9/11 Justice, seeks to bring to justice Saudi government officials, who they believe support terrorists. They are furious that Trump once acknowledged the Saudi government was responsible but changed his tune, they said, to take advantage of Saudi efforts to clean up the nation’s global image through sport.

“How much money does it take to turn your back on your country, on the American people?” said Juliette Scauso, who was 4 years old when her father, firefighter Dennis Scauso, perished in the attacks.

For days, LIV golfers and Trump defended their decisions to line up on the breakaway tour and accept millions of dollars in the saudi sovereign wealth fund, which is overseen by Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman. Tour critics say it’s another example of the Saudi “sportswashing” atrocities attributed to them – supporting 9/11 terrorists, killing journalist Jamal Khashoggi and oppressing women and members of the LGBTQ community.

Trump, who as a 2016 presidential candidate blamed the Saudis for the 9/11 attacks, said Thursday that “nobody got to the bottom of the events of 9/11, unfortunately.”

On Friday, protesters had their chance to respond to both Trump and the golfers. Many have accused golfers of cowardice for proclaiming their sympathy for their cause while accepting money from LIV Golf.

“You’re taking the position that you’re okay with Saudi Arabia’s actions or, just as bad, that you’re so incredibly greedy and insensitive that you really don’t care about these atrocities,” Scauso said.

Organizers came to the protest armed with copies of declassified FBI documents, which they say establish a clear link between 12 Saudi government officials and the terrorists in the months leading up to the attacks.

“It’s simple,” said Tim Frolich, who was in the South Tower on 9/11. “The Saudis did it. They plotted it, they funded it, and now they’re trying to distract all of those things with a golf tournament 50 miles from ground zero. It is deplorable.

The group urged golf fans to boycott LIV Golf and asked golfers and anyone doing business with Saudis, including broadcasters, to reconsider. On Friday morning, at a nearby Marriott serving as the tour’s headquarters at its Bedminster stop, band members approached David Feherty, the former CBS and NBC golf analyst who defected to join the tour even though he does not have an American television contract. Again.

Brett Eagleson, the president of 9/11 Justice, asked Feherty if he would listen and maybe talk to golfers about the choices they make.

“He was actually very responsive,” Eagleson said. “He was really open to working with us and having a partnership with us, instead of being combative. I’m hopeful.

But Eagleson was far less conciliatory about Trump, who he said was guiltier than the golfers because, as former commander-in-chief, he should know better. Eagleson was part of a group that met with Trump at the White House on Sept. 11, 2019. They say Trump urged them to continue their work, which they did vigorously on Friday.

Eagleson said Trump’s assertion that “no one got to the bottom of the events of 9/11” outraged the victims’ family members beyond their already simmering anger.

“Our loved ones are the heroes,” he said, “and the golfers and the former president are the cowards.”

As protesters spoke, several passing cars honked their horns in support, but a few drivers shouted in support of Trump and one shouted at family members to go home.

Winuk, whose brother, Glenn Winuk, a volunteer firefighter, died in the attacks, called the Saudi funds “blood money” and warned that anyone who took them would carry the “stink” of them forever.

“LIV Golf?” he said. “For me and for many others of us, it’s more like death golf.”

Several members of the group, including former Trump supporters, took turns at the podium to castigate Saudis, golfers and the former president. When asked what else the band had planned, Eagleson broke down as he explained the exhaustion he and others in the organization were feeling.

“I’m tired of fighting,” he said through tears.

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Newsrust - US Top News: 9/11 families protest Saudi-backed LIV golf tournament
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