Tickets to the controversial Saudi-sponsored tournament at Donald Trump’s golf course in New Jersey reportedly cost just $1, and crowds were scarce — but Trump and his fans did their best to transform the tournament into a Saturday night. mini campaign event.
Spectators wearing sports shirts with pro-Trump slogans in the stands behind the first T-shirt burst into chants of “Four years!” as the former president emerged in a red “Make America Great Again” cap for the second day of the foreign-funded tournament at Trump National Golf Club Bedminster.
Trump was later seen raising a fist on the 16th tee as he watched the action along with Christian Nationalist Representative Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-Ga.), who came to the event to cheer on the Saudi tournament — and MAGA fanatics .
Trump fan Dave Teed, a local firefighter who came to the event, told Golf Week he can “handle” the Saudi “thing” but it was “China or anything like that, no way. I wouldn’t be here.” .”
As for the actual tournament, the Washington Post scoffed that it had had a meager crowd, lots of talk, and loud music blasting from the speakers across the course, “even as players line up tricky putts.”
Trump has giddy praised the new LIV tournament, funded by Saudi Arabia’s sovereign wealth fund, to compete with America’s own PGA tournament. The former president of “America First” has called the Saudi tournament a “gold rush” that golfers should take advantage of.
But critics have labeled the LIV tournaments as “sports washes” by a brutal regime seeking to purge its reputation after the 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 not to hold the tournament.
At an angry rally in Bedminister’s center on Friday, Juliette Scauso, whose father firefighter Dennis Scauso died in the 9/11 attacks, turned to Trump and asked, “How much money does it cost to turn your back on your country, the American people?”
In response to criticism, Trump on Thursday ripped the “maniacs who did that horrible thing” from the 9/11 terror attacks — but insisted that “no one has reached the bottom of 9/11.”
He also urged the Wall Street Journal earlier in the week that opposition to Khashoggi’s brutal murder “had faded”. US intelligence has determined that Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, chairman of the fund that finances the tournament, ordered the dissident’s assassination in 2018.
Although the Saudi government has denied any responsibility for the 9/11 terror attacks, 15 of the 19 al-Qaeda terrorists who carried out the attacks were from Saudi Arabia. After an extensive investigation, the FBI also detailed several contacts and phone calls between Saudi officials and the terrorists.
The 9/11 Families United group said in a statement at the time that the report had “involved numerous Saudi government officials in a coordinated effort to mobilize a vital support network for the first arriving 9/11 hijackers.”
Trump himself repeatedly pointed to the Saudis in 2016 as possible culprits of 9/11.
This article originally appeared on HuffPost and has been updated.