WACO, United States: Donald Trump stages his first presidential campaign rally Saturday at the site of a deadly 1993 standoff between an anti-government cult and federal agents as he rails against multiple criminal probes threatening his bid for the White House.
In the early hours of Friday, Trump issued a dark warning about the consequences of an indictment, predicting “potential death & destruction” that “could be catastrophic for our Country.”
He suggested that Bragg, who is leading the hush money probe, was a “degenerate psychopath that truly hates the USA.”
On Thursday, Trump invoked an anti-Semitic conspiracy theory popular among Republicans as he called Bragg a “Soros-backed animal” -- suggesting falsely that Jewish financier George Soros had contributed to Bragg´s election. Waco City Manager Bradley Ford told a news conference the city had first received an inquiry about hosting the rally just two weeks ago -- sparking frantic logistical and security planning.
“We´re expecting thousands,” McLennan County Republican Party Chair Brad Holland added, according to the Waco Tribune-Herald.Waco, Texas -- which is marking the 30th anniversary of the siege -- has become a touchstone for far-right activists glorying in its history of resistance against perceived government overreach.
The rally comes amid a torrent of increasingly bellicose statements by Trump claiming a “witch hunt” by prosecutors he refers to as “human scum” who are pursuing cases against him in New York, Washington and Atlanta.
The Republican leader is expected to address at least 15,000 supporters as he braces for possible charges over a hush money payout days before the 2016 election to a porn star alleging a sexual encounter.
The 76-year-old -- who was impeached for inciting an insurrection -- called last weekend for protests against Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg, as the former president claimed falsely that he was about to be arrested.
Some of those arriving in Waco came from other states, eager to see Trump returned to the Oval Office, with many wearing MAGA caps or waving flags touting his campaign.
“We have huge power behind Donald Trump that has yet to be unleashed,” said Kelly Heath, 49, who arrived from Georgia. “You will be shocked.”
Trump supporters trickled into the Waco Siege Memorial on Friday to commemorate the 80 or so people who died in the 1993 standoff at the compound of the Branch Davidian sect, besieged by federal agents.
“Waco is actually the epicenter of the patriot movement, of the movement to help America get back to its grassroots... to empower the citizens to have constitutional rights,” said Peter Christian, the pastor´s assistant at the memorial.
The Houston Chronicle published an op-ed Thursday accusing Trump of hosting his rally during the 30th anniversary as a “blaring air horn” for the extremists among his followers.
“It´s a ploy to remind his cult of the infamous Waco siege of 1993, where an anti-government cult battled the FBI,” the former president´s estranged niece Mary Trump said on Twitter.
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