Donald and Melania Trump light up celeb-studded NYC golf gala ahead of controversial Saudi-backed LIV Series

NEW YORK, NEW YORK – JULY 27: Former U.S. President Donald Trump and former first lady Melania Trump arrive to the welcome party for the LIV Golf Invitational – Bedminster at Gotham Hall on July 27, 2022 in New York, New York. (Photo by Chris Trotman/LIV Golf via Getty Images)

Former President Donald Trump and former first lady Melania attended a star-studded LIV Golf-sponsored gala in New York City ahead of the controversial Saudi-backed league’s LIV Golf Invitational Series’ stop at Trump’s Bedminster, New Jersey course.

Twelve teams and 48 golfers will be competing July 29-31 at Bedminster for a top prize of $4 million, and to kick off the event, Donald and Melania Trump joined Caitlyn Jenner, rapper Nelly, and a host of golf’s biggest names, including Trump’s frequent golfing partner, Dustin Johnson, at the Gotham Hall in Manhattan on Wednesday night, despite harsh criticism from family members of 9/11 victims who are furious at The Donald for hosting a tour backed by Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Funds.

The tour, which offers a bigger payday to the victors, was born out of frustration with the US-based PGA Tour and has attracted such big names in the sport as Johnson, Phil Mickelson, Bryson DeChambeau, Brooks Koepka, and Ricky Fowler, the Daily Mail reports. However, surviving family members of those lost in the World Trade Center attack less than 50 miles from Bedminster have voiced their outrage over the circuit in light of recently declassified evidence highlighting the Saudi government’s connections to the infamous event.

Newly declassified documents released by the FBI last year highlighted Saudi ties to terrorist attacks and 15 of the 19 9/11 hijackers were from Saudi Arabia.

Caitlyn Jenner. Photo by Chris Trotman/LIV Golf via Getty Images

In a letter from the group 9/11 Justice, family members of the Twin Towers victims urged the former President to distance himself from LIV, according to the Daily Mail.

“The evidence, Mr. Trump, is more clear than ever. The Saudi nation is largely responsible for the death of our loved ones and for this horrific attack on Americans. And you know it,” the letter read. “We ask for the opportunity to have some of our family members visit with you in the coming days to discuss our concerns in person with you and urge you to cease further business with the regime that was complicit in the murder of our loved ones.”

Daniel McGinley was working on the South Tower’s 89th floor when the planes struck. He didn’t make it out of the building alive, and his brother, Dennis McGinley, is appalled by Trump’s decision to host the Saudi-backed tournament.

“For Donald Trump, a former president of the United States to host the Saudi golf tournament, help it get off the ground 45 miles or 50 miles from Ground Zero, where 750 New Jerseyans were killed on that day, it is beyond comprehension,” McGinley told DailMail.com.

“As 9/11 families, we’ve had to grow thick skins over the last 21 years, but this really hurts,” he added. “This one is really painful.”

Those pro golfers who have signed on to LIV have been banned from playing in PGA Tour events, though they are still able to play in the four annual big tournaments, Politico reports.

NEW YORK, NEW YORK – JULY 27: Team Captain Dustin Johnson of 4 Aces GC and wife Paulina Gretzky arrive to the welcome party for the LIV Golf Invitational – Bedminster at Gotham Hall on July 27, 2022 in New York, New York. (Photo by Mike Stobe/LIV Golf via Getty Images)

On Truth Social, Trump’s enthusiasm for LIV remained undaunted.

“All of those golfers that remain ‘loyal’ to the very disloyal PGA, in all of its different forms, will pay a big price when the inevitable MERGER with LIV comes, and you get nothing but a big ‘thank you’ from PGA officials who are making Millions of Dollars a year,” Trump posted on Monday. “If you don’t take the money now, you will get nothing after the merger takes place, and only say how smart the original signees were.”

“Good luck to all,” Trump wrote, “and congratulations to the really talented Cam Smith on his incredible WIN!”

According to Politico, Brett Eagleson, a founder of 9/11 Justice has stated the group will be holding a press conference on Friday morning just down the street from Bedminster to blast the 48 golfers teeing up for “choosing to take Saudi payouts and look the other way on the country’s human rights abuses and role in the worst terrorist attacks on American soil.”

NEW YORK, NEW YORK – JULY 27: Musical artist Nelly performs during the welcome party for the LIV Golf Invitational – Bedminster at Gotham Hall on July 27, 2022 in New York, New York. (Photo by Mike Stobe/LIV Golf via Getty Images)

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