tickets for the controversial tournament sponsored by Saudi Arabia a donald trumpNew Jersey golf course were allegedly goes for as little as $1and crowds were thin, but Trump and his fans did their best to transform the tournament into a mini-campaign event on Saturday.
Spectators wearing pro-Trump slogan T-shirts on the grandstand behind the first tee erupted in chants of “Four more years!” when the former president appeared in a red cap reading “Make America Great Again” for the second day of the foreign-funded tournament at Trump National Golf Club Bedminster.
Trump was later seen raising his fist on the 16th tee watching the action alongside Christian Nationalist Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-Ga.), who came to the event to applaud Saudi tournament and MAGA fans.
Trump fan Dave Teed, a local firefighter who attended the event, told Golfweek that he “can deal with” the Saudi Arabian “thing”, but it was “China or something like that, no way. I would not be here.
As for the actual tournament, the Washington Post scoffed that it had thin crowds, big talk and music blaring through speakers throughout the course, “even as players lined up with tricky putts.”
Trump has giddily acclaimed the new LIV Tournament, funded by Saudi Arabia’s sovereign wealth fund, to compete with America’s own PGA tournament. The former “America First” president called the Saudi tournament a “gold rush” that golfers should take advantage of.
But critics have criticized LIV tournaments as “sports laundering” by a brutal regime seeks to clean up his reputation after the dismemberment-murder of the Washington Post journalist Jamal Khashoggiand its links to the 9/11 terrorist attacks.
Families of 9/11 victims and survivors had called on Trump to decline to hold the tournament.
At an angry meeting in the Bedminister center on Friday, Juliette Scauso, whose firefighter father, Dennis Scauso, was killed in the 9/11 attacks, turned to Trump and asked: “how much money is needed turn your back on your country, on the American people?
In response to the criticism, Trump on Thursday slammed the “maniacs who did that horrible thing” of the 9/11 terror attacks, but insisted “no one has gotten to the bottom of 9/11.”
He also insisted to the Wall Street Journal earlier in the week that the backlash over the Khashoggi’s brutal murder had “burned out.” US intelligence determined that Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, chairman of the fund that finances the tournament, ordered the assassination of the dissident in 2018.
Although the Saudi government has denied any responsibility for the 9/11 terrorist attacks, 15 of the 19 al qaeda terrorists those 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 group 9/11 Families United said said in a statement at the time the report implicated “numerous Saudi government officials in a coordinated effort to mobilize an essential support network for the first arriving 9/11 hijackers.”
Trump himself in 2016 repeatedly pointed to the Saudis as possible culprits for 9/11.
This article originally appeared on HuffPost and has been updated.