Whether it’s trying to overthrow a legitimate election, bilking his followers out of millions of dollars through his Super PAC, or lying about the value of his properties, the former president’s corruption and unethical behavior seemingly have no end. We could go on and on.
For those of you who may not know it, Trump even managed to corrupt the world of golf, a sport he loves to participate in daily.
Some might say they couldn’t care less about a sport that has always catered to the very well-off and has a dark history of excluding people of color and women from participating. And, they’d be right about those aspects of the game of golf.
That said, Trump’s involvement in the LIV Golf Tour, Saudi Arabia’s foray into tournament golf, shows his vindictiveness, pettiness, and corruption know no bounds.
For some background, the LIV Tour is a startup tour attempting to compete with the PGA Tour, backed by hundreds of millions of dollars from the Saudi Arabian government. They’ve enticed some big names from the PGA, like Phil Mickelson and Dustin Johnson, by throwing nine-figure paychecks at them to defect and play on their Tour.
In other words, all they have to do is show up. While winning events certainly can pad their wallets with even more millions, the incentive isn’t what it is on the PGA tour in that you have to do well in tournaments to make a living.
Former PGA tour player Greg Norman, a constant critic of the Tour he once played for, is the CEO and commissioner of LIV Golf and is leading the way in trying to entice other players to defect. He also tried to start a rival tour in the early 90s but was unsuccessful.
The PGA has since indefinitely suspended all the players who defected. The controversy has pitted current PGA tour players against those who have defected, including a torrid response from PGA legend Tiger Woods, who didn’t mince words during a press conference at The Open Championship, played this past weekend. Woods came out vehemently against the new Tour, saying the deflecting players have turned their backs on the one Tour that gave all of them their chance to earn an excellent living.
But, as we all know, everything nowadays is about money. And in this case, we’re talking about an ungodly amount. The current PGA Tour cannot compete with the kind of money the Saudis throw around. If even more top players defect and commit to LIV, some tough decisions will have to be made, including possibly allowing some accommodation for players to play on both tours.
So what does this all have to do with the former president? We know that Saudi Arabia was the first foreign trip for Trump when he began his presidency. We also know that his son-in-law Jared Kushner managed to walk away with a 2 billion dollar contribution from the Saudis six months after his father-in-law left the White House.
The contribution was sent directly to Kushner’s private equity firm after Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman (MBS) overruled advisers for his nation’s sovereign wealth fund. The advisors thought Kushner’s firm was too risky to warrant such a significant investment. The House Oversight Committee has launched an investigation into the scheme.
So with the stench of that alleged self-dealing aside, we can now move to how Trump is trying to disrupt, blow up, and create a mess for the PGA Tour. The PGA had the nerve to call him out for his behavior while president. As everyone knows, you do not embarrass or financially hurt Donald Trump without expecting revenge.
And with his involvement in the LIV Tour, he’s managed to do just that.
In 2016, the PGA Tour prematurely ended an agreement to stage a World Golf Championship at Trump National Doral Resort in Miami, Fla., after Trump made disparaging and bigoted remarks about Mexican immigrants while campaigning for president. Then, in 2021, they terminated an agreement with Trump that would have seen the prestigious PGA Championship played at his Bedminster Golf Club. This was due to January 6, 2021, riot and subsequent attempt to overturn the election.
Trump has since forged a partnership with the LIV Tour, hosting upcoming multi-million dollar tournaments at the same courses the PGA Tour walked away from. Trump got his revenge like a jilted mob boss whose honor was disrespected.
And he couldn’t let an opportunity to stick it to the PGA Tour go to waste, putting out the following statement from his Truth Social account the day after The Open Championship was completed: “All of those golfers that remain ‘loyal’ to the very disloyal PGA, in all its different forms, will pay a big price when the inevitable merger with LIV comes, and you get nothing but a bit ‘thank you’ from PGA officials who are making millions of dollars a year.”
Let’s face it, the only millions he cares about are the ones that will go directly into his pocket. Remember, Trump pocketed at least a few million from our government while president, according to Citizens for Ethics (CREW), mainly from the Secret Service staying at his various properties. Oh, and let’s also not forget the estimated $150 million taxpayers had to shell out for all his golf trips during his presidency.
We know Trump has been in bed with the Saudis for a long time – the sweetheart deal for Jared notwithstanding. Jared, by the way, made a lot of trips to Saudi Arabia during Trump’s term in office, including three after the 2020 election. You can take that for what it is. Maybe nothing nefarious was being discussed. Or, maybe there was. Perhaps the House investigation will shed some light on that.
The whole thing stinks. There’s no way of knowing it without a full investigation. Still, the apparent self-dealing going on while president is simply another example of how this former president was willing to use the presidency to benefit himself and his family – not the country and the Constitution he swore to protect and preserve on January 20, 2017.
Ironically, we see the media obsessing over President Biden’s fist bump with MBS on his recent trip to the Middle East. Ok, the optics didn’t look good. But Biden needs Saudi Arabia on more than just the oil issue. There is also Iran, Russia’s war with Ukraine, and the continued attempt by China and Russia to try and gain influence in the region.
The media goes nuts on Biden’s fist bump, but Jared’s $2 billion deal with the Saudis and Trump’s sleazy partnership with the LIV Tour gets tossed aside like it’s no big deal. If that isn’t another false equivalency media narrative, I don’t know what is.
We may never know the deals Jared and his father-in-law negotiated with the Saudis. Hopefully, the House Oversight Committee will get to the bottom of it. But proving a quid pro quo isn’t easy. You’d have to prove that the Saudis offered something in return for something else. At the very least, it’s downright unethical and inappropriate behavior.
Regardless, if you’re a fair person with a decent amount of intelligence, how can you not conclude that the former president was, and still is, one of the most corrupt politicians we’ve ever seen in our nation? So much that he touched, and touches, looks and feels like we had a mob boss running the country for four years. And now, that very same mob boss is getting his revenge wherever he can find it.
The PGA Tour will survive in the long run, but the fallout from the upstart Saudi-backed golf league, and subsequent partnership with Trump, will be a stain they’ll have to overcome. Frankly, can you not say the same about the United States of America?