Trump golf courses reportedly looking for Saudis

Former President Donald Trump’s company plans to hold events at its golf courses for the controversial Saudi golf league, according to three people familiar with the matter, potentially offering Trump a lucrative business partnership with a regime he has defended as president.

At least two of Trump’s courses — in Bedminster, NJ, and Doral, Florida — could be named as sites for the fledgling tour, according to people familiar with the talks, who like others spoke on condition of anonymity. to discuss internal deliberations. Officials from LIV Golf Investments, the Saudi-funded group to organize the tour, have had conversations with the Trump Organization, the people said.

One of the people said Trump had spoken to Greg Norman, the head of LIV Golf, about his properties’ involvement in the tour.

A spokeswoman for the investment group declined to comment. Eric Trump, the former president’s son, and a spokeswoman for the Trump Organization did not respond to requests for comment. The Saudi Embassy in Washington also did not respond.

Taylor Budowich, spokesperson for Trump’s political action committee, made a statement touting the former president’s golf courses when asked about the talks.

“It certainly seems possible given that President Trump owns some of the most beautiful and renowned golf courses in the world – from the cliffs of Rancho Palos Verdes to the majestic hills of Bedminster and, of course, the iconic Doral property. ” he said.

The financial terms of the proposed deal are unclear, but the events would undoubtedly provide revenue to Trump through the Saudis, who are bidding to recruit PGA Tour players and launch a series of golf tournaments.

As president, Trump has frequently defended the Saudi government, even amid a wide range of human rights abuses, including the 2018 murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi and the imprisonment and execution of gay citizens. . Trump’s first foreign trip as president was to Saudi Arabia, and he has regularly praised the country’s wealth and power, though some advisers have pushed him to take a harder line on from the country.

Such a deal would also provide a measure of revenge for Trump against the PGA Tour, which he courted for years but later angered when politics got between them.

While Trump was campaigning in the summer of 2016, the PGA Tour announced that it was retiring its World Golf Championship from Doral and moving it to Mexico City. Trump also lost the PGA Championship from his New Jersey run last year, as the organization canceled his event days after a Jan. 6 uprising by a pro-Trump crowd at the U.S. Capitol.

Doral was the biggest revenue generator of any of Trump’s golf properties, but he borrowed heavily to acquire and renovate it, and the 643-room resort suffered financially during his presidency.

His company has been trying to revive Doral since the end of his presidency. Florida lawmakers last year passed legislation easing the way for the company to obtain a casino license for Doral, and last month it announced it would seek to build 2,300 homes there.

Information for this article was provided by Alice Crites of The Washington Post.

President Donald Trump meets with Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman bin in the Oval Office in March 2017. MUST CREDIT: Washington Post photo by Jabin Botsford

Michael C. Ford