Former President Trump and former first lady Melania Trump arrived at Gotham Hall in Manhattan for the LIV Golf welcome party Wednesday night ahead of the pro-am event event at Trump National Golf Club in Bedminster, N.J. Trump was seen talking to LIV Golf CEO Greg Norman and team captain Dustin Johnson.
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Former President Donald Trump defended allowing the LIV Golf Tournament to play at his club in Bedminster, New Jersey, after families of those lost in the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks urged him to back out over the tour’s ties to Saudi Arabia.
Trump told ESPN that criticism of Saudi Arabia, which for years has faced accusations of funding terrorism, should not impact the tournament.
“Nobody’s gotten to the bottom of 9/11, unfortunately,” said Trump. “They should have, as to the maniacs that did that horrible thing to our city, to the country, to the world. So nobody’s really been there.”
Former President Donald Trump watches his shot from the first tee during the pro-am prior to the LIV Golf Invitational at Trump National Golf Club in Bedminster, N.J., on Thursday, July 28, 2022. (Charles Laberge/LIV Golf via Getty Images)
Before the remarks, Trump teed off at Trump National Golf Club in Bedminister for LIV Golf’s pro-am event. The Saudi-backed league is scheduled to host its third tournament of the season this weekend at the club.
“I can tell you that there are a lot of really great people that are out here today, and we’re gonna have a lot of fun, and we’re going to celebrate,” said Trump. “Money’s going to charity, a lot of money’s going to charity, and you have really the best players in the world.”
LIV Golf is backed by Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund, a pool of economic development money that is reportedly controlled by the nation’s crown prince.
Due to that relationship, the tour has come under fire as an “exercise in whitewashing.” Critics say the event boosts Saudi Arabia’s public image at a time when the country continues to be bogged by accusations of funding terrorism and abusing the human rights of its citizens.
President Biden is welcomed by Saudi Arabian Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman at Alsalam Royal Palace in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, on July 15, 2022. (Photo by Royal Court of Saudi Arabia / Handout/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images)
One of those critics is 9/11 Justice, an advocacy group made up of families with loved ones that perished in the attacks. The families have called on Trump to cut ties with LIV Golf over Saudi Arabia’s purported connection to the tragedy.
“The evidence, Mr. Trump, is more clear than ever,” members of the group wrote in a letter to him last month. “The Saudi nation is largely responsible for the death of our loved ones and for this horrific attack on America.”
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