- Trump and a Saudi group have discussed hosting a golf league at his courses, according to The Washington Post.
- Its courses in Bedminster, New Jersey, and Doral, Florida, would be in the running.
- Saudi Arabia’s human rights abuses made him controversial, but Trump never seemed to worry.
Former President Donald Trump is in talks to host events at his US golf clubs for a Saudi-backed golf league, according to The Washington Post.
Citing three people familiar with the matter, The Post reported that Trump’s yards in Bedminster, New Jersey, and Doral, Florida are in the running to be used as venues for the league.
The outlet reported that the Trump Organization spoke with LIV Golf Investments, a Saudi state-backed company.
Trump has personally discussed the prospect with Greg Norman, the former Australian golfer turned CEO of LIV Golf Investments, an unnamed source told The Post.
Insider reached out to the Trump Organization for comment early Sunday, but did not immediately receive a response. LIV Golf Investments was not available for comment.
Neither body responded to The Post either. A spokesperson for Trump’s Save America PAC said such a deal “appears possible.”
Any decision to host the Saudi-backed golf league at Trump properties would be controversial.
Amnesty International has in the past accused Saudi Arabia of “sportswashing”, the practice of associating itself with popular sporting competitions to distract from its shortcomings elsewhere.
According to Amnesty, Saudi Arabia is one of the best executioners in the world, freedom of expression is extremely limited, women are widely discriminated against and LGBTQ people risk the death penalty.
Saudi Arabia’s reputation hit a new low with the 2018 murder of Washington Post columnist Jamal Khashoggi by Saudi agents. US intelligence officials have concluded that Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman ordered his death.
At the time of the murder, President Trump refused to blame the crown prince and defended the closeness of US-Saudi relations. In the past, Trump has called bin Salman a “friend”.
The Saudi golf project is causing controversy beyond a possible rapprochement with Trump.
Professional golfer Phil Mickelson has told his biographer he’s ready to support the league, according to the New York Post.
He said he was prepared to ignore Saudi Arabia’s “horrible” human rights record and Khashoggi’s murder, because of the business opportunity he represented.
According to the newspaper, Mickelson said, “Why would I even consider it? Because this is a unique opportunity to reshape the way the PGA Tour works.”