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Trump's 3 Letters May Have Helped World Cup Bid

President takes some credit for getting FIFA to pick North America
By Arden Dier,  Newser Staff
Posted Jun 15, 2018 9:55 AM CDT
President Trump speaks to reporters on the North Lawn of the White House on Friday.   (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)

(Newser) – President Trump gave himself a pat on the back Friday, two days after FIFA announced North America would host the 2026 World Cup over Morocco. "Thank you for all of the compliments on getting the World Cup to come to the US, Mexico and Canada. I worked hard on this, along with a Great Team of talented people," the president wrote in an early tweet, per Politico. While Trump thanked New England Patriots owner Bob Kraft "for excellent advice," he did not mention son-in-law Jared Kushner, who Politico notes is also taking some credit for the winning bid. Kushner reportedly sought favorable votes from allies in the Middle East, including Saudi Arabia and Bahrain, which sided with the majority of FIFA member associations in the 134-65 vote. Kushner also kept up contact with Canada and Mexico, per the New York Times.

Trump played a different role. Between March and May, he sent three letters to FIFA's president, one of which promised "all eligible athletes, officials and fans from all countries around the world would be able to enter the United States without discrimination." US Soccer president Carlos Cordeiro describes the assurances as "powerful," though the Times notes they were only needed because US officials "quickly encountered uncomfortable questions from soccer associations" regarding Trump's travel restrictions. In April, Trump suggested any country that lobbied against the North American bid would lose US support, "including at the United Nations." Days later, he called on African countries to support the North American bid during a meeting with Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari. (Read more President Trump stories.)

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