Trump's Sons in Dubai to Open Golf Club02/18 09:27
DUBAI, United Arab Emirates (AP) -- Two of U.S. President Donald Trump's
sons arrived in the United Arab Emirates for an invitation-only ceremony
Saturday to formally open the Trump International Golf Club in Dubai.
Photographs shared on social media by real estate brokers showed Eric and
Donald Jr. attending a private luncheon Saturday afternoon in Dubai with
Hussain Sajwani, the billionaire who runs DAMAC Properties, the developer that
partnered with Trump on the golf course.
Trump's two sons gave brief remarks at the billionaire's mansion on Dubai's
man-made Palm Jumeirah archipelago, speaking underneath an ornamental clock
whose face spelled "SAJWANI VILLA."
"It's rare in the world where you can be such great friends with a partner
and that's what we have right here," Eric Trump said. "Hussain, he is an
amazing person and DAMAC is an amazing company."
The two Trump brothers later met with over 80 people gathered at the event,
attendee Niraj Masand told The Associated Press.
They were "expressing their gratitude to Mr. Sajwani, who is the chairman of
DAMAC, and sort of expressing their happiness to meet with all the partners,"
said Masand, a director of the real estate firm Banke International.
Both sons are scheduled to attend a gala at the golf course Saturday night,
which sits inside a larger villa and apartment building project called DAMAC
Hills on the outskirts of Dubai. Some 100 Trump-branded villas also are on the
property, selling from 5 million dirhams ($1.3 million) to over 15 million
dirhams ($4 million).
Eric and Donald Trump Jr., who now run the Trump Organization, receive
Secret Service protection as immediate family members of the president.
It's unclear what additional security protection the two sons will receive
while in Dubai as experts already have warned the Trump brand abroad now faces
a global terror risk .
The U.S. Embassy in Abu Dhabi has declined to comment about the trip, while
Dubai police did not respond to a request for comment.
However, the United Arab Emirates, a staunch U.S. ally in the war against
the Islamic State group and host to some 5,000 American military personnel,
remains a peaceful corner of the Middle East. Its hereditary rulers and other
Gulf Arab leaders hope to see a harder line from America on Iran after growing
increasingly skeptical of its intentions following the nuclear deal with world
powers negotiated in part by the Obama administration.
The UAE's foreign minister even backed Trump's travel ban on seven
Muslim-majority nations earlier this month, which didn't include the UAE or
neighboring Saudi Arabia. All but four of the Sept. 11 hijackers came from
Saudi Arabia, while two came from the UAE.
The ceremony in Dubai, home to the world's tallest building and other
architectural marvels, marks the first major event abroad that the two Trump
sons will attend together since their father's inauguration Jan. 20.
Ties between the Trumps and Sajwani remain strong. One of the Trump
Organization's subsidiaries received from $1 million to $5 million from DAMAC
for running the golf club, according to a U.S. Federal Election Committee
report submitted in May.
Sajwani and his family also attended a New Year's Eve celebration at Trump's
Mar-a-Lago club in Florida, where Trump referred to them as "the most beautiful
people from Dubai."
Trump days later told journalists that DAMAC had offered the Trump
Organization $2 billion in deals after his election, something DAMAC later
The Dubai golf course marks Trump's first successful venture in the Arab
world. Another Trump-managed golf course is planned for another even larger
DAMAC project under development and the developer has been putting up
billboards around Dubai advertising the newly opened course.
The 18-hole course has raised questions about how the Trump Organization's
many international business interests will affect the administration of
America's 45th president.
Already, a liberal-funded watchdog group has filed a lawsuit alleging his
business violates the so-called emolument act of the U.S. Constitution. Similar
questions have been raised by legal experts over Trump's Dubai course.
Trips abroad by Trump's two sons are expected to continue. Before Trump's
inauguration, his son Eric visited the Trump Tower Punta del Este in Uruguay to
check on the tower's progress and personally greet buyers. A Trump hotel in
Vancouver, British Columbia, is also expected to soon host Trump's sons.