Trump Uses Presidential Seal To Boost Saudi Golf Tournament Despite Ethical Complaint

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Donald Trump uses the official US presidential seal on his golf course in Bedminster, New Jersey, during the highly controversial LIV tournament funded by Saudi Arabia, despite a previous complaint that it violates federal law.

According to media reports and photos, the president of “America First” uses the seal on golf carts, towels and the wall of a viewing room on the 18th green.

The seal gives the impression of White House support for a tournament that has sparked a furious stir in light of the Saudi government’s ties to 9/11 and the murder of Washington Post journalist Jamal Khashoggi.

Federal law prohibits the use of the presidential seal in any way that could “create a false impression of sponsorship or endorsement by the United States government.” The seal can only be used for official government affairs. Violations can lead to a prison sentence of up to six months.

Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington filed a complaint last year over Trump’s use of the presidential seals in Bedminster.

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“Illegal use of the presidential seal for commercial purposes is not a trivial matter, especially when it comes to a former president actively challenging the legitimacy of the current president,” CREW said.

The LIV tour is funded by Saudi Arabia’s sovereign wealth fund, chaired by Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman. U.S. intelligence has determined that he was responsible for Khashoggi’s assassination at the Saudi consulate in Istanbul in 2018.

Outraged families of 9/11 victims have criticized Trump for his callous role in the so-called “sports wash” Saudi tournament, designed to soften the memory of atrocities and enhance Saudi’s reputation.

Responding to criticism for his lucrative participation in the operation, Trump on Thursday ripped the “maniacs who did that awful thing” of 9/11, but insisted that “no one got to the bottom of 9/11.”

He called the Saudis “friends of mine for a long time‘ and characterized the money deposited into the tournament as a ‘gold rush’ that players should take advantage of.

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The 9/11 Families United group said in a statement at the time that the report involved “numerous Saudi government officials, in a coordinated effort to mobilize a vital support network for the first arriving 9/11 hijackers, Nawaf al Hazmi and Khalid al-Mihdhar.”

Trump himself repeatedly pointed to the Saudis in 2016 as possible culprits of 9/11. “Look at Saudi Arabia. Open the documents,” Trump urged. “Frankly, if you open the documents, I think you’ll see it was Saudi Arabia.”

A group of families of 9/11 victims and survivors of the 9/11 Justice organization gathered outside the Bedminster public library on Friday to condemn Trump’s and golfers’ support for the Saudis and their tournament.

“You take a position that you agree with the actions of Saudi Arabia or, just as much, that you are so incredibly greedy and unfeeling that you really don’t care about these atrocities,” said Juliette Scauso, who was 4 at the time. her father, firefighter Dennis Scauso, died in the attacks.

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“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 divert all those things with a golf tournament 50 miles from Ground Zero. It’s unfortunate.”

The families also ran an ad earlier this week attacking those who give the Saudis a pass for money.

Pro golfer Phil Mikelson was booed in the tournament on Trump’s court on Friday. As he was about to tee off, a spectator shouted, “You work for the Saudi royal family!”

Trump has also used the presidential seal to boost business on his courses in West Palm Beach and Jupiter, Florida, and in the Bronx, despite legal restrictions.