BEDMINSTER, NJ (PIX11) — The heartache and trauma has only deepened for Matthew Bocchi, who lost his father during the September 11th attacks on the World Trade Center more than two decades ago.
John Bocchi worked at Cantor Fitzgerald in the North tower. Matthew was just 9 years old.
“I looked at countless images of people hanging out of the windows of the North Tower, hoping I can locate my father and know his final whereabouts that morning,” Bocchi recalled. “The thing is, we are constantly reminded of 9/11, every single year we have to see the footage on television and if we want to avoid it – we can’t.”
Bocchi, along with others who lost loved ones on 9/11, were reminded yet again of the tragedy when they learned former President Donald Trump’s National Golf Club in Bedminster, New Jersey was set to host a LIV golf event, some 50 miles away from Ground Zero. LIV Golf is a Saudi Arabian-funded golf tour. The country has long been accused by critics of playing a role in the 9/11 attacks; 15 of the 19 terrorists who hijacked planes on 9/11 were Saudi nationals.
The group 9/11 Families United is now leading a charge to shed light on newly declassified U.S. intelligence documents that they say outline official Saudi support for the hijackers, including their associates who were on the kingdom’s payroll.
The group held a press conference near the Bedminster golf course on Tuesday, led by chair Terry Strada. Strada lost her husband on 9/11. During the press conference, they took aim not only at the Saudi government, but also at pro-golfers like Phil Mickelson who were paid millions to play in the upcoming LIV series.
“By joining LIV, players have shamelessly partnered with the very country that US intelligence reports prove had numerous connections to the attacks on September 11,” she said. “Is teaching our youth that blood money and hundreds of millions is more important than values, integrity, hardwork?”
Another group comprised of 9/11 families, called 9/11 Justice, also turned up the pressure on former President Trump and those pro golf players; the want them to walk away from the event set for this weekend. The group released a television and online ad that went into rotation on Tuesday.
For Strada, the issue goes beyond golf and is now about holding Saudi Arabia accountable.
“[Trump] is nobody in my opinion for the way he is treating us,” Strada said. “We have a president who is sitting in the White House right now who we are going to demand that he give us answers to this evidence.”
While the Trump Organization has not officially responded to the controversy, a contract between the company and LIV reportedly prevents the Trump Organization from canceling the upcoming golf event. A large rally is set to take place this Friday not far from Trump National Golf Club, just as the LIV golf event gets underway.