Trump gushes over success of Saudi golf tournament -- and boasts it's worth 'billions of dollars' in publicity
US President Donald Trump and Saudi Deputy Crown Prince and Defense Minister Mohammed bin Salman shake hands at the White House on March 14, 2017. Trump heads to Saudi Arabia this weekend on his first foreign trip since taking office (AFP Photo/NICHOLAS KAMM)

Former President Donald Trump is being heavily criticized by the families of 9/11 victims for hosting a golf tournament being funded by the government of Saudi Arabia at his Bedminster resort.

But in a new interview with the Wall Street Journal, Trump gushed about the success of the tournament, despite the fact that many 9/11 families have said it's being used to whitewash Saudi Arabia's reputation even as it faces scrutiny for its potential foreknowledge of the deadly 2001 terrorist attacks that killed nearly 3,000 Americans.

“I think LIV has been a great thing for Saudi Arabia, for the image of Saudi Arabia,” Trump said. “I think it’s going to be an incredible investment from that standpoint, and that’s more valuable than lots of other things because you can’t buy that—even with billions of dollars.”

Trump also downplayed criticisms of the country's human rights record, such as its widely condemned murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi.

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“I can say that from the standpoint of Khashoggi, that has died down so much,” he said. “It really seems to have totally died down... nobody has asked me that question in months."

A group of 9/11 families are planning to protest in Bedminster against the tournament this week and have a press event scheduled for Tuesday to decry Trump's involvement with it.