Former president Donald Trump spoke highly of LIV Golf, as the controversial golf tour hosts this weekend’s tournament at the Trump National Golf Club – Washington, DC.
Playing in the pro-am Thursday alongside Eric Trump, Patrick Reed and Bob Koepka at the course in Sterling, Virginia, Trump told reporters along the course LIV Golf’s future is “very good” and it has “unlimited money.”
“I think the (PGA) Tour made a major mistake by playing games. They have unlimited money, and they love it. And it’s been great publicity for Saudi Arabia,” Trump said. “They’ve been great for golf. The Saudis have been fantastic for golf. And they’re going to make it a big part of, inside their country, they’re going to do some great courses.”
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Trump also talked highly of the course LIV Golf uses, and the tour wanted to use his course “because they’re the best courses.”
“I think I have the best courses. It’s the best course in the tri-state area. It’s the best course. It’s not even a contest,” he said. “I think it’s one of the best properties anywhere in the world. You have the Potomac River. Not just any river. You have the Potomac River. There’s no other golf course that can be on the Potomac. And certainly no other golf course like this.”
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Trump has praised LIV Golf since the tour began last year. Before hosting an event in July at Trump National Golf Bedminster in New Jersey, the former president implored golfers to take the guaranteed money the tour offers, which is financed by Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund. Trump also said the people of Saudi Arabia have “been friends of mine for a long time” at last year’s event.
LIV Golf has received widespread criticism and some have argued that it’s used as a form of sports washing Saudi Arabia’s human rights record. Saudi Arabia has been accused of wide-ranging human rights abuses, including politically motivated killings, torture, forced disappearances and inhumane treatment of prisoners. And members of the royal family and Saudi government were accused of involvement in the murder of Jamal Khashoggi, a Saudi journalist and Washington Post columnist.
A New York Times report earlier this month said the U.S. Department of Justice subpoenaed the Trump Organization for records regarding LIV Golf and Trump’s ties to the tour.
“Oh, I don’t know. I guess they’re doing that because of what’s happening with (President Joe) Biden. That’s their retribution. Because we did nothing wrong. That’s their retribution. That’s the way they try and get even,” Trump said regarding the subpoena.
Donald Trump on his play during LIV Golf pro-am
“It’s fine. We’re just having fun. We’re playing best ball, I guess,” Trump said.
Donald Trump calls Ron DeSantis a ‘very disloyal person’
Trump also spoke about Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, who announced his presidential campaign for the 2024 election Wednesday, and is largely seen as Trump’s biggest opponent in the Republican Party. He called DeSantis a “very disloyal person” and called his announcement a disaster after several technical problems plagued the Twitter event.
“… He didn’t talk about inflation. Honestly, I couldn’t watch. It was so boring. … And by the time they ended up getting on, as you know, Alan, it was a disaster. It was a disaster. The guy had a disaster last night.”
“Look, a poll just came out in Iowa − you saw the one that just came out a couple minutes ago − I’m leading by 30 or 40 points. I don’t mind that at all. But no, I think he’s very disloyal. He’s got no personality. If you don’t have personality, politics is a very hard business. I have a wonderful personality,” Trump said.
Trump said he has played golf with DeSantis before, adding he believes his golf game is better than DeSantis’.
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Contributing: Tom Schad from Sterling, Virginia
This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Donald Trump praises LIV Golf at tournament: ‘It’s been great publicity for Saudi Arabia’