Trump to hold first campaign rally in 2024 in Waco, Texas |


Former US President Donald Trump has held the first rally of his 2024 presidential campaign in Waco, Texas, ranting at prosecutors investigating him, and using dark and conspiratorial language to set fire to his base in the ahead of next year’s Republican primary.

Trump — who may be indicted — opened Saturday’s rally by playing a song, “Justice for All,” with a chorus of men imprisoned for their roles in the January 6, 2021 riot at the Capitol as they national anthem and a recording of Trump reciting the Pledge of Allegiance.

Some footage of the uprising was shown on screens.

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In his speech, Trump defended the insurgents and said they will be “just,” describing the investigations swirling around him as “something straight out of the Stalinist Russia horror show.”

“From the beginning it’s been one witch hunt and another bogus investigation,” he said.

Trump is being investigated by Manhattan prosecutors for campaign finance violations stemming from his alleged payment of hush money to an adult film actress ahead of the 2016 election. A special counsel appointed by the Justice Department is also investigating allegations that he stole top secret documents hoarded and masterminded a plot to overturn the 2020 election.

Trump declared on Saturday that his “enemies are desperate to stop us” and “our opponents have done everything they can to crush our minds and break our wills.”

“But they failed,” he said. “They have only made us stronger. And 2024 is the last battle, it will be the big one. Put me back in the White House, their rule will be over and America will be a free nation again.”

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Trump held his rally at the airport grounds in Waco as the city celebrated the 30th anniversary of a raid by federal agents on the Branch Davidians religious sect there that resulted in 86 deaths, including four law enforcement officers. Many right-wing extremists see the raid as a seminal moment of government overreach, and critics saw the timing of the rally as a nod to Trump’s far-right supporters.

Trump’s campaign insisted that the location and timing of the event had nothing to do with the Waco siege or its anniversary.

A spokesperson said the site, 27 kilometers (17 mi) from the Branch Davidian compound, was chosen because it was conveniently located near four of the state’s largest metropolitan areas — Dallas/Fort Worth, Houston, Austin and San Antonio — and has the infrastructure to handle a large crowd.

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Supporters of former President Donald Trump cheer as he speaks at a campaign rally at Waco Regional Airport, Saturday, March 25, 2023, in Waco, Texas (Evan Vucci/AP)

Trump made no overt references to Waco’s history, telling the crowd he told Texas Lieutenant Governor Dan Patrick he wanted his rally to be held in a place of overwhelming support, not “one of those 50-50 areas “.

He said he told Patrick, “Let’s get right into it.”

“But as far as the eye can see,” he added quickly, “the abuses of power we are currently witnessing at all levels of government will go down as one of the most shameful, corrupt, and depraved chapters in all of American history. ”

Members of the public held red and white signs handed out by the campaign that read “WITCH HUNT” and “I stand with Trump.”

‘High wire’ act

Trump is not only in legal danger. His bid to clinch the Republican nomination faces a potential challenge from Florida Governor Ron DeSantis amid signs that his own support is waning, at least in places like New Hampshire, an early primary battleground.

“I’m not a big fan,” Trump said of DeSantis, who accused him of conspiracy to cut Social Security.

“Florida has been hugely successful for many years, long before this man became governor.”

The former president is trying to use the New York City hush money case to his advantage by raising money and using it to rally supporters. On Friday, he issued an apocalyptic warning, saying the country could face “death and destruction” if he was charged with a crime.

In a move that seemed intended to avoid a formal announcement, he claimed last Saturday that he would be arrested the following Tuesday. While that didn’t happen, Trump has repeatedly called for violence — urging his supporters to protest — and used increasingly racist and inhumane rhetoric as he launched increasingly personal attacks on Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg.

Few supporters have heeded his calls to take to the streets to protest his possible indictment in the Manhattan case, and Trump’s escalating rhetoric has at least repelled some within his party.

“Trump is walking on a high wire with no net, telegraphing that he has nothing to lose and is willing to risk dangerous outcomes to rally support,” said Ron Bonjean, a Republican strategist in Washington, DC.

Democrats have also warned that Trump’s comments could incite violence.

“The rhetoric of the twice-deposed former president is reckless, reprehensible and irresponsible. It’s dangerous, and if he goes on like this, he’s going to get someone killed,” said New York House Democratic leader Hakeem Jeffries.

At the Waco rally, supporters said they were unimpressed by the prospect of Trump being indicted.

“It’s just another political attack on him to keep him from running and winning this race again,” said Eugene Torres, 41, of the coastal Texas town of Corpus Christi.

Alan Kregel, 56, traveled with his wife from Dallas to see Trump in person for the first time. While voting for Trump in 2016 and 2020, he said he felt the former president’s “methods and vocabulary” often detracted from his policies. But now, two years out of office, he said he supports Trump more than before.

“He’s an innocent man, just prosecuted,” Kregel said, arguing that an indictment would help Trump win in 2024.

Aside from his attacks on law enforcement and DeSantis, Trump’s speech was largely devoted to pursuing old grievances and making extreme claims about his enemies.

Several times, Trump repeated the false claim that his 2020 election loss was due to a systematic fraud orchestrated by the Democrats.

Trump painted the stakes of the next election in apocalyptic terms, speaking of “demonic forces” seeking to destroy the country, which he said risked falling into a “legal abyss” unless he gets back in the White House. voted.

He described some US officials and senior politicians — including Republican Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell — as a greater threat to the US than China or Russia.

“Either the Deep State destroys America or we destroy the Deep State,” Trump said.

World News
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