MEGHAN MCCAIN: I faced an offer from Mideast nation and I turned it down. Trump and golfers didn’t 

MEGHAN MCCAIN: Trump and the world’s greatest golfers are being paid to turn a blind eye to Saudi Arabia’s dirty deeds. When I faced an offer from another Mideast nation I turned it down

Call it the 100-million-dollar Saudi question.

What would you be willing to do — or ignore — in return for a massive payday?

For many of America’s best-known athletes and a former US president that question has been answered.

Right now, there is a strange spectacle kicking off about 50 miles from Ground Zero, where 2,753 people were killed in the September 11th attack on the World Trade Center.

A tournament for a golf league bankrolled by the government of Saudi Arabia has kicked off at a private club owned by former President Donald Trump.

And while players are teeing off, the families’ of 9/11 victims are protesting outside the gates.

Trump has given the Saudi’s LIV Golf league his stamp of approval.

Some of the greatest golfers in the world have jumped ship from the PGA Tour and joined LIV Golf – lured by unimaginably huge rewards.

Phil Mickelson, an American golf legend, is raking in a reported $200 million.

He was the first big name to make the move, but you don’t need to be as famous as Phil to cash in with LIV.

Trump has given the Saudi's LIV Golf league his stamp of approval

Trump has given the Saudi’s LIV Golf league his stamp of approval

There is a strange spectacle kicking off about 50 miles from Ground Zero, where 2,753 people were killed in the September 11th attack on the World Trade Center. (Above) A ceremony at the National 9/11 Memorial in New York City on September 11, 2021

There is a strange spectacle kicking off about 50 miles from Ground Zero, where 2,753 people were killed in the September 11th attack on the World Trade Center. (Above) A ceremony at the National 9/11 Memorial in New York City on September 11, 2021

In a PGA tournament if you don’t play well – you don’t get paid.

In LIV, you get paid just for showing up. And if you do win, the prizes are astronomical.

First place at the tournament at Trump’s Bedminster earns $4 million. Come in 48th place and you still get $120,000.

I’ve been following the controversy over LIV Golf for some time now, as many players and media personalities tie themselves in knots, performing a bizarre media dance.

At every opportunity, anyone taking a check from Saudi Arabia is pressed to answer a series of difficult questions.

For instance: What do they think about the murder of Washington Post journalist Jamal Khashoggi in Turkey in 2018?

According to a U.S. intelligence report released by the Office of the Director of National Intelligence in 2021, Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman approved the operation that resulted in Khashoggi being murdered inside a Saudi embassy and cut to pieces with a bone saw.

Maybe most relevant of all, as the tournament begins in New Jersey: What do they think about growing evidence that individuals linked to the Saudi regime played a role in the planning and execution of the 9/11 attacks?

This gut-wrenching claim is made most forcefully by the families’ of 9/11 victims, many of whom are represented by ‘9/11 Families United.’ 

In 2021, the Biden administration declassified an FBI report that revealed a closer relationship than had been previously known between two Saudis in particular — including one with diplomatic status — and some of the 9/11 hijackers.

Among other shocking revelations, the evidence shows a Saudi government employee, Omar al-Bayoumi, meet with some of the hijackers prior to the attacks.

According to a U.S. intelligence report released by the Office of the Director of National Intelligence in 2021, Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman (above) approved the operation that resulted in Khashoggi being murdered inside a Saudi embassy and cut to pieces with a bone saw.

According to a U.S. intelligence report released by the Office of the Director of National Intelligence in 2021, Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman (above) approved the operation that resulted in Khashoggi being murdered inside a Saudi embassy and cut to pieces with a bone saw.

(Above) Family members and survivors from the organization 9/11 Justice speak to media as they attend a protest against the Saudi Arabian-funded golf series and its tournament being held at the Trump National Golf Club in Bedminster, New Jersey, U.S., July 29, 2022

(Above) Family members and survivors from the organization 9/11 Justice speak to media as they attend a protest against the Saudi Arabian-funded golf series and its tournament being held at the Trump National Golf Club in Bedminster, New Jersey, U.S., July 29, 2022

Today, Omar al-Bayoumi is living in the Kingdom and receiving a monthly stipend from the government.

Trump was asked about all of this on Thursday and in typical Trump fashion he sidestepped completely.

He told ESPN, ‘No one’s gotten to the bottom of 9/11, unfortunately,’ ignoring the fact that as president for four years he had a golden opportunity to do just that.

To translate the Trump spin, he’s saying, ‘Can’t we all just move on?’

And that is a huge driving force behind this Saudi golf league.

The message they want sent is: Saudi Arabia can’t be that bad, if nearly every American golfer, an ex-president and others are onboard with their league.

Now a private US citizen or the US government being in a relationship with an unscrupulous foreign nation is nothing new.

The world is a complicated place. It is every individual’s choice how they would respond if they were offered millions of dollars to turn a blind eye to the obvious.

I was given that opportunity once.

Shortly after I left ABC’s ‘The View,’ I was approached to be a representative of the World Cup for Qatar ahead of FIFA’s upcoming 2022 tournament.

The soft offer was a lot of money.

Honestly, I considered it for a split second.

Qatar is not Saudi Arabia.

But it is a country with laws that openly discriminate against women, lesbians, gays, bisexuals, and transgender people.

According to Amnesty International, migrant workers face horrific labor abuses and freedom of expression and other human rights have been violated in the run up to the World Cup in November.

That said — there are some positive things about this Middle Eastern country and no nation is without its problems.

But something about it didn’t sit right with me.

Quite frankly, I thought of Hunter Biden being offered weird sums of money from controversial countries with histories of human rights violation.

I also consider myself a strong feminist and ally to persecuted communities.

I thought about all the work that my parents have done fighting for global freedom and democracy.

The work they’ve done helping people who have been unjustly imprisoned by dictators and evil fascists.

Above all else, I believe in freedom.

I felt if I eventually took that job, it would damage my reputation and compromise my ability to advocate for the causes that I feel passionate about.

(Plus, I also next to nothing about soccer. In fairness to myself, it is rare any American does. I follow a little sport called football.)

Some of the greatest golfers in the world have jumped ship from the PGA Tour and joined LIV Golf ¿ lured by unimaginably huge rewards (Above) Dustin Johnson on the 16th tee during the pro-am prior to the LIV Golf Invitation at Trump National Golf Club Bedminster on July 28, 2022

Some of the greatest golfers in the world have jumped ship from the PGA Tour and joined LIV Golf – lured by unimaginably huge rewards (Above) Dustin Johnson on the 16th tee during the pro-am prior to the LIV Golf Invitation at Trump National Golf Club Bedminster on July 28, 2022

At the end of the day, it just didn’t feel ethical. It felt like a money grab. So, I passed on the opportunity.

I am not perfect, but I know who I am and what I believe.

Others have made different decisions and that includes the world’s largest countries and corporations.

Despite China holding millions of Uighurs in concentration camps, the communist regime was tapped to host the 2022 Olympics.

American athletes and Olympians from around the world attended the Beijing Games (though they didn’t have much of a choice).

NBC didn’t have any problem raking in the profits from broadcasting the events.

Nike makes its products in China and the NBA has signed lucrative contacts to broadcast their games in China.

In 2018, the PGA itself signed on to a 20-year, $45 million deal with a Chinese sports management company linked to the Chinese government.

The entire continent of Europe became addicted to Russian oil, and they’re now paying the price for that. But Putin was a vicious dictator, long before he invaded Ukraine.

Even President Joe Biden, after vowing to make Saudi Arabia a pariah state for the Crown Prince’s alleged role in Khashoggi’s murder, did the exact opposite and traveled to Saudi Arabia earlier this month to fist bump the supposed murder mastermind and beg him to sell America more oil.

As I said, it’s a complicated world and there’s plenty of hypocrisy to go around.

But now, as we watch a former American president teeing off at his golf club, surrounded by wealthy American golfers, giving their approval to a Saudi reputation laundering operation, we can’t not wonder: How will their decisions be remembered?

Will their choices be remembered as a betrayal of American values or just another bargain struck in a long line of compromises?

I don’t know the answer to that.

But I know what I did.

What would you do?

That’s the real 100-million-dollar question.

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