Trump Holds First Re-Election Rally Amid Rumors of Indictment
Former President Donald Trump will hold his first election rally in Waco, Texas on Saturday – in the midst of numerous rumors surrounding his potential indictment.
The rally in Waco will mark the beginning of what is expected to be a turbulent season of political events and conferences amid criminal investigations of the former president. Trump announced in mid-November his run for the White House in 2024, though has seen a slow start in raising support – both politically and financially – in the months since.
30TH ANNIVERSARY OF WACO MASSACRE
The location of Trump’s first presidential rally – Waco, Texas – is not without controversy. The City of Waco is currently recognizing the 30th anniversary of the horrific Waco massacre which after a 51-day siege ended in a shootout between the FBI and the Branch Davidians (an anti-government religious cult), leaving dozens dead.
As residents mourn this dark mark on their city’s history, many wonder if the choice of Waco to kick off the campaign rallies possesses a coded message for far right and anti-government supporters.
“Waco is hugely symbolic on the far right,” Heidi Beirich, co-founder of the Global Project Against Hate and Extremism, told USA Today. “There’s not really another place in the U.S. that you could pick that would tap into these deep veins of anti-government hatred – Christian nationalist skepticism of the government – and I find it hard to believe that Trump doesn’t know that Waco represents all of these things.”
Beirich appears far from alone in these sentiments. Mary Trump, the former president’s niece and a fierce Trump opponent, posted a statement to her Twitter account yesterday.
“Donald has a rally in Waco this Saturday,” Mary Trump wrote. “It’s a ploy to remind his cult of the infamous Waco siege of 1993, where an anti-government cult battled the FBI. Scores of people died. He wants the same violent chaos to rescue him from justice.”
Trump Aides Refute Claims of Secret Message
Trump aides insist the planning of the rally coinciding with the 30th anniversary of the Waco massacre is not a gesture of support to anti-government voters. Instead they maintain that the location of Waco was a strategic choice to allow for supporters from all major surrounding metropolitan areas to gather in a central city.
“President Trump is holding his first campaign rally in Waco in the Super Tuesday state of Texas because it is centrally located and close to all four of Texas’ biggest metropolitan areas,” Trump campaign spokesman Steven Cheung said. “This is the ideal location to have as many supporters from across the state and in neighboring states attend this historic rally.”
POTENTIAL UPCOMING INDICTMENT
Others wonder if such a controversial location was selected to detract attention from the multiple indictment allegations currently facing the former president.
At present, Trump is likely to face charges in relation to hush money payments made to adult film star Stormy Daniels prior to the 2016 presidential election. A Manhattan grand jury is currently reviewing the case and deciding whether Trump broke any laws when the Trump Organization reimbursed former Trump attorney, Micheal Cohen $130,000 after Cohen made that payment to Stormy Daniels intended as hush money for the purpose of not discussing an alleged previous sexual encounter. The Trump Organization then recorded the payment as a legal expense.
In 2018 Michael Cohen was sentenced to three years in federal prison for his part in breaking campaign finance laws and facilitating the hush money payment to Daniels. Now prosecutors must determine to what extent Donald Trump played a role wrongly stating the purpose of the expense.
Trump Calls for Resistance from Supporters
Trump announced on Truth Social last Saturday that he anticipated being indicted and arrested on the Tuesday of the following week and encouraged his supporters to “protest” and “take our nation back!”
Much of this rhetoric echoed his calls for protest and resistance on January 6th.
Despite the former president’s prediction, a spokesperson for Trump said they had no evidence to corroborate Trump’s post and Tuesday can and went without his arrest. While prosecutors signal that the former president will likely face charges, it remains unknown when decisions will be made.
Trump has maintained the claim that he has never had sexual encounters with Stormy Daniels and insists all allegations of such to be politically motivated. No US president – while in office or afterwards – has faced criminal charges.
In order to regain stamina, Trump will have to regain influence within the Republican party and face off against numerous other Republicans who have called for a break with the former president in order to move the party forward.
At the evening’s rally at Waco Regional Airport, the former president is expected to waste no time in taking aim at his political rivals, decrying the Biden administration’s policies and promising to take back the White House in 2024.