Trump’s love-in with the Saudis continues! Donald and Don Jr. are all smiles on as fans chant ‘four more years!’ at LIV invitational – while 9/11 families protest the ‘blood money’ golf tournament nearby
Trump is hosting the event at his New Jersey club in exchange for an undisclosed payout from the Saudi organizers.
The tournament that has divided the world of sport.
Some athletes refuse to take part in protest against Saudi Arabia‘s track record of human rights abuses, and the event has been eviscerated by the families of 9/11 victims, in light of a recently declassified government report which suggests there were links between the terrorists involved in the attack and the Saudi Arabian government.
On Saturday, many of those families gathered at the local library near Trump’s club in order to protest.
They couldn’t get near the actual event – which was swarming with Secret Service.
Despite their tears, the atmosphere at Bedminster was jovial. Trump was spotted driving around on a golf buggy, waving to his fans and cracking jokes with the pros taking part.
Beep, beep, coming through! Donald Trump plays host at his Bedminster golf club on Friday, driving around in a golf cart that was emblazoned with a presidential seal, waving to his fans and shrugging off the controversy surrounding the ‘gold rush’ weekend with the Saudis
Donald Trump emerges from Bedminster golf club to applause on Friday, the first day of the LIV Invitational at Trump Bedminster
Trump was in a jovial mood as he emerged at Bedminster for another day of action. He said he was only too happy to host the Saudi event after being dumped by the ‘disloyal’ PGA
Donald Trump points to a fan in the crowd while his son, Donald Trump Jr., watches nearby at the first day of the LIV Invitational in Bedminster, New Jersey
Donald Trump Jr’s fiancee Kimberly Guilfoyle arriving at Trump Bedminster on Friday for the LIV tournament
Parachutists descended from a small plane above the course carrying the US flag and another, for LIV Golf
Parachutists with the LIV Golf flag over Trump Bedminster in New Jersey on Friday
He played yesterday in the pro-am event but was playing host today and for the rest of the weekend.
To delight his guests, Trump had arranged for a parachutist to descend from a small plane over the course at lunchtime.
Trailing behind him were two flags – the American flag and another bearing the name LIV Golf.
‘The real attraction!’ one supporter shouted before Trump and his son, Donald Jr, made their way on to the first tee to cries of ‘Four more years!’
There, they stood in line, alongside LIV chief Greg Norman and Yasir Al-Rumayyan, the governor of the Saudi Public Investment Fund behind this circus.
It was a jarring, provocative image of golf’s new rebel alliance.
‘What’s Jay Monahan doing right now?’ one fan asked before answering his own question about the PGA Tour commissioner. ‘Cry-ing!’ Perhaps.
Or perhaps Monahan surveyed the scene from afar and concluded, as many players and fans already have: this exhibition of greed – oh, and golf – is all rather grim.
Trump was at least on time yesterday. And so, at 1.15, a horn squeaked from down the fairway and this third LIV tournament was underway. The next 54 holes will do little to distract from the storm which had been brewing long before Trump’s grandstanding.
Former President Donald Trump making his way through fans at the club. He cracked jokes with the pros who were there to play and was friendly towards spectators
Trump cracked jokes with the Team Captain Brooks Koepka at the LIV Invitational on Friday in Bedminster, New Jersey
Trump chatting with the players at the first hole on Friday morning. He is expected to be there throughout the weekend
Trump chatting with LIV CEO Greg Norman at the course on Friday
Caitlyn Jenner is seen at The LIV Golf Invitational Bedminster 2022 at Trump National Golf Club, Bedminster, New Jersey. She played in the pro-am yesterday
Long before Henrik Stenson – among LIV’s most recent, most symbolic and antagonistic recruits – stood on the back of a buggy en route to the practice area as rain fell overhead. Even the resident DJ, whose music pierced this corner of New Jersey hours ahead of the shotgun start, could not drown out the noise of resistance nearby.
Less than four miles away, on the roadside outside a public library, more families of 9/11 victims made their voices heard. ‘We’re standing here, in the backyard of where 750 people were turned to dust,’ one speaker said.
‘We cannot believe we have to be here 21 years later, speaking out against a government that’s trying to sportswash or whitewash their atrocities.’
On which side of the fault lines you stood was obvious from what was written across your hat. The protesters in Bedminster wore red caps which read: 9/11 Justice. Trump, and many fans here, sported red too.
50 miles away, the families of 9/11 victims fought tears as shared their rage at Trump embracing the Saudis in light of suggested evidence that the terrorists behind the attack were in some way supported by the Saudi government
Families whose loved ones were killed in the attack had begged Trump not to host the series but he pushed on
Protesters at the library on Friday fumed over Trump’s decision to host the event. He has called it a ‘gold rush’ for the golf world
Family members of those killed on 9/11 and survivors sent former President Donald Trump a letter condemning his decision to host the Saudi-funded LIV Golf tournament at Trump National Golf Club Bedminster in New Jersey on July 29th, 2022
Their hats carried that more incendiary, four-word phrase: Make America Great Again. They included a photographer and an elderly lady. Many more wore TRUMP hats.
Among them? A young boy who earned a high-five from DeChambeau as the ‘Crushers’ team captain wandered on to the first tee to fire his first bomb of this barmy, combustible weekend.
Yesterday, Trump defended hosting the series, telling reporters at the course: ‘I’ve known these people for a long time in Saudi Arabia and they have been friends of mine.
‘They own big percentages of many, many American companies and frankly, what they are doing for golf is so great, what they are doing for the players is so great. The salaries are going to go way up.
‘The PGA was not loved by a lot of the players, for a long time. Now they have an alternative and nobody ever would have known it was going to be a gold rush, like this.’
As for 9/11, he said: ‘Nobody’s gotten to the bottom of 9/11, unfortunately. And they should have. As to the maniacs that did that horrible thing to our city, to our country, to the world, so nobody’s really been there.’
Later, as he headed off the first tee, Trump even hinted that he would run for the White House once more.
‘You’re going to be so happy. We’ll let you know pretty soon,’ he said before asking where the reporter was from. ‘They just did a story on me, beautiful,’ he said. ‘The first one in five years. Front page, tell them I appreciate it.’