Tickets to the controversial Saudi-sponsored tournament at Donald Trump’s golf course in New Jersey were just a dollar and crowds were sparse, but Trump and his fans did their best to turn the tournament around into a mini campaign event on Saturday.
Spectators sporting shirts bearing pro-Trump slogans in the grandstand behind the first tee erupted in chanting “Four more years!” when the former president emerged in a red ‘Make America Great Again’ cap for day two of the foreign-funded tournament at Trump National Golf Club Bedminster.
Later, Trump was seen raising his fist on the 16th tee as he watched the action alongside Christian nationalist Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-Ga.), who came to the event to cheer on the Saudi tournament — and the MAGA fanatics.
Trump fan Dave Teed, a local firefighter who came to the event, told Golfweek he “can handle” the Saudi Arabia “thing” but it was “China or something. like that, no way”. I will not be there.
As for the tournament itself, The Washington Post poked fun at the fact that there were thin crowds, big talk, and loud music coming from loudspeakers across the course, “even as players lined up tricky putts”.
Trump has giddily hailed the new LIV tournament, funded by Saudi Arabia’s sovereign wealth fund, to rival America’s own PGA tournament. The former ‘America First’ chairman called the Saudi tournament a ‘gold rush’ that golfers should enjoy.
But critics have called the LIV tournaments a “sports wash” by a brutal regime seeking to clean up its reputation after the dismemberment-murder of Washington Post journalist Jamal Khashoggi and his links to the 9/11 terror attacks.
Families of 9/11 victims and survivors had called on Trump to refuse to host the tournament.
At an angry rally in downtown Bedminister on Friday, Juliette Scauso, whose firefighter father Dennis Scauso died in the 9/11 attacks, addressed Trump asking, “How much money is to turn your back on your country, on the American people?”
Responding to criticism, Trump on Thursday ripped into the “maniacs who did this horrible thing” of the 9/11 terrorist attacks, but insisted that “no one got to the bottom of 9/11.”
He also insisted to The Wall Street Journal earlier in the week that the backlash over Khashoggi’s brutal killing had “subsided”. US intelligence has determined that Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, chairman of the fund financing the tournament, ordered the dissident’s murder in 2018.
Although the Saudi government has denied responsibility for the September 11 terrorist attacks, 15 of the 19 al-Qaeda terrorists who carried out the attacks were from Saudi Arabia. After a thorough investigation, the FBI also detailed several contacts and phone calls between Saudi officials and the terrorists.
The group 9/11 Families United said in a statement at the time that the report involved “many Saudi government officials in a coordinated effort to mobilize a critical support network for the early 9/11 hijackers.” .
Trump himself in 2016 repeatedly singled out the Saudis as likely culprits for 9/11.
The Huffington Gt