Trump tees it up with LIV, mocks DeSantis 'rough opening'

NEWS: Trump tees it up with LIV, mocks DeSantis ‘rough opening’

Fore, please! Now … campaigning?

Former President Donald Trump, 76, seemed not to care a bit about politics Thursday as he teed off for a pro-am round ahead of this weekend’s LIV Golf event at his northern Virginia course — hours after a former ally, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, launched his long-anticipated 2024 Presidential run.

The 45th president was greeted with applause and cheers as he took several practice swings before launching a drive down the first hole at the Trump National Golf Club Washington DC in Sterling, Va., about 30 miles northwest of the White House.

Trump was later pictured sharing a laugh with Patrick Reed, the 2018 Masters champion and one of the stars of the LIV circuit.

When reporters, including a NewsNation crew, caught up to the former president and asked about the 44-year-old DeSantis’ glitchy campaign kickoff, Trump responded — in his first on-camera comment about his new rival: “I think he had a rough opening.”

Former President Donald Trump teed off Thursday at the Saudi-backed LIV Golf ProAm Tournament being held at his Virginia golf course.

This weekend will mark the second time in as many years Trump has hosted a LIV Golf event at one of his courses.

The former president faced intense backlash last year when the breakaway tour, which is backed by Saudi Arabia’s sovereign wealth fund, rolled up to his Trump National Golf Course in Bedminster, New Jersey.

Last week, 9/11 Families United, a group of victims’ families and survivors of the 2001 terrorist attacks, sent Trump a letter asking to meet ahead of the Virginia LIV event, but said they did not receive a response.

Trump faced intense backlash last year when he hosted the controversial Saudi circuit’s LIV Golf Invitational at Trump National Golf Course in Bedminster, New Jersey.

“Your decision to continue a business relationship with the Saudis is all the more painful given what we have learned from the thousands of pages of FBI and CIA documents that were finally declassified by your successor, President Biden,” wrote 9/11 Families United National Chair Terry Strada, whose husband Tom did in the World Trade Center’s North Tower. “These documents confirmed that the Saudi government established a vast and secret platform for the Ministry of Islamic Affairs to operate under official and unofficial cover from within the United States, and that clerics deployed by the Saudi government to the U.S. as part of this illegal initiative had extensive and direct ties to notorious terrorists and jihadists.”

“Mr. President, you are under no obligation today whatsoever to work with the Kingdom,” Strada concluded her letter. “In fact, you are well-positioned to leverage the lessons learned to set yourself apart from others that continue to work with Riyadh and its agents. We believe that through a private dialogue our community can help you better appreciate the self-inflicted harm to your legacy, your reputation, and your campaign that comes from a continued financial association with the Saudi government and Saudi officials.”

Trump responded to the criticism ahead of the Bedminster event by telling ESPN that “nobody has gotten to the bottom of 9/11, unfortunately, and they should have.” The former president also told the Wall Street Journal at the time: “I don’t know much about the 9/11 families, I don’t know what is the relationship to this, and their very strong feelings, and I can understand their feelings. I can’t really comment on that because I don’t know exactly what they’re saying, and what they’re saying who did what

DeSantis took several swipes at Trump while announcing his candidacy during an audio-only Twitter Spaces event on Wednesday.

The tournament comes a day after his former political ally, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, officially announced his 2024 bid for the White House.

“Governing is not entertainment,” DeSantis said. “It’s not about building a brand or virtue signaling. It’s about delivering results and our results in Florida have been second to none.”

He also appeared to shade Trump’s electability, saying, ”If you nominate me, you can set your clock to January 20, 2025, at high noon — because on the west side of the US Capitol, I will be taking the oath of office as the 47th president of the United States. No excuses — I will get the job done.”

DeSantis appeared to take a swing at Trump while announcing his candidacy Wednesday.

In a bizarre Truth Social message after DeSantis’ announcement, Trump attempted to take a swing back at the Florida governor — though his rebuttal primarily seemed to be taken as a joke for many across social media.

“‘Rob,’ My Red Button is bigger, better, stronger, and is working (TRUTH!), yours does not! (per my conversation with Kim Jung Un, of North Korea, soon to become my friend!),” read Trump’s bewildering post on Wednesday. 

Polls indicate DeSantis has the best chance to surpass Trump as front runner of the Republican Party, but still trails the former president by a more than 2-to-1 margin.

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