The U.S. Women’s Open Championship kicked off on Friday at the Trump National Golf Club in Bedminster, New Jersey ― a choice that many consider somewhat ironic given President Donald Trump’s history of disparaging women.
“The [U.S. Golf Association] and [the Ladies’ Professional Golf Association] could have made a clear and unequivocal statement against sexual assault by moving this tournament,” Shaunna Thomas, co-founder of women’s rights group UltraViolet, said Friday in a statement.
“Instead they chose to embrace the man who is a walking, talking example of a sexual predator. Shame on the USGA. Shame on the LPGA. This is a stain on your brand that will not wash away. Let’s be clear, by choosing to hold this tournament at Trump’s course, the USGA and the LGPA are endorsing Trump’s behavior.”
This is a stain on your brand that will not wash away. Let’s be clear, by choosing to hold this tournament at Trump’s course, the USGA and the LGPA are endorsing Trump’s behavior. Shaunna Thomas, co-founder of women’s rights group UltraViolet
Some of the tournament’s participants decided not to wade into politics.
Lizette Salas, a professional golfer and second-generation American from a Mexican immigrant family, said that a lot of thought went into deciding whether she should play on a course owned by a man who has disparaged Mexicans so many times.
“My job is to be a golfer,” she said. “I think my way of inspiring more females is to play regardless of what’s happening. I think I would make a bigger impact if I played this event, because it’s my national championship as well. I deserve to be here.”
Trump returns Friday from a two-day trip to Paris for Bastille Day and heads straight to Bedminster.
A handful of Democratic senators had penned a letter to USGA CEO Mike Davis asking the organization to reconsider its choice of location for the Women’s Open. “In declining future association with a brand that degrades women, the USGA and LPGA have an opportunity to make clear to the world, and most especially young Americans, that our nation will not tolerate nor do business with any company that condones or excuses action that constitutes sexual assault,” they wrote in October 2016.
“We’re a golf organization,” said Davis at a press conference in May, responding to growing public pressure to change the venue. “We’re simply not going to cross that line into politics. We can appreciate that some people do, but we’re a golf association, and we’re sticking to golf.”
“The USGA respects the rights of all individuals [to] express their views,” Janeen Driscoll, director of public relations for USGA, told HuffPost in a statement. “Our focus remains on conducting the ultimate test of golf for the best female players in the world and providing an enjoyable and safe experience for all at the U.S. Women’s Open Championship.”