The Trump 2024 presidential campaign will officially kick off Saturday afternoon in Waco, Texas.
The symbolism of former President Trump, beset by potential political indictments at the state and federal level, starting his presidential campaign at the site of the most egregious and unprovoked act of violence perpetrated upon US citizens by the federal government in the history of the Republic can’t go unnoticed by even the dimmest bulbs in the ranks of NeverTrump.
76 Americans Murdered at Waco
From February 28 until April 19, 1994 (funny that they chose April 19 to burn the place, isn’t it), the compound belonging to the Branch Davidian religious sect was besieged by federal law enforcement. Though the siege was kicked off by the goobers in the ATF, they were eventually joined by the same people who remorselessly gunned down a woman holding an infant a year earlier in rural Idaho.
In the end, law enforcement started a conflagration that burned the compound to the ground, killing 76 people. Among them were 25 children, 27 if you count the two pregnant women burned to death.
See Jeff Charles’s description of Waco today: I Took a Trip to Waco.
Crowds Gather for Rally
The rally promises to be well attended. It begins at 5 p.m., and lines are already forming.
It’s 8am in Waco, and MASSIVE lines are already forming for Pres. Donald Trump’s Texas rally.
This is shaping up to be huge.@OANN pic.twitter.com/A2aNwSke1p
— Daniel Baldwin (@baldwin_daniel_) March 25, 2023
The festivities officially begin with Ted Nugent playing a lit AF version of “The Star Spangled Banner,” our only national anthem.
I will unleash a firebreathing Star-Spangled Banner with the great president Donald Trump at the Waco regional airport tomorrow at 2PM! McLennan county is the epicenter of conservative American Dream spirit/values! See you there patriots!￼https://t.co/84EfP5g0PR
— Ted Nugent (@TedNugent) March 24, 2023
Media Sees Hate and Insurrection
Naturally, there has been an outbreak of fecal incontinence in some parts of the media. It wasn’t enough that they created a fake insurrection narrative about January 6; they are trying to dust off that debunked tale for a new one in Waco.
Militia members and conspiracists know exactly what Trump’s Waco visit symbolizes. They have heard him castigate the FBI and the “deep state,” particularly after agents searched for classified documents at Mar-a-Lago. How they’ll respond to his remarks, particularly if he shows up as the first former president in American history to face criminal charges, has law enforcement in Waco and beyond taking every precaution. What he says will likely set the tone for the presidential campaign to come. Every American should be concerned.
The Trump campaign insists that the candidate’s visit during the Branch Davidian anniversary is purely coincidental. A spokesman said the campaign was looking for a site away from the big cities but close enough to Dallas-Fort Worth, Austin, Houston and San Antonio to draw a crowd. The Waco Regional Airport and an expected crowd of 10,000 or so fit the bill. Of course, Temple or Belton or Killeen (home to Fort Hood) would have fit the bill, as well — without the weight of symbolism.
Trump alerted his followers that the feds were coming to get him with an all-caps alert last Saturday morning on Truth Social, his social-media site: “THE FAR & AWAY LEADING REPUBLICAN CANDIDATE & FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, WILL BE ARRESTED ON TUESDAY OF NEXT WEEK. PROTEST, TAKE OUR NATION BACK!”
His call to arms echoed his “Be there, will be wild,” exhortation a few weeks before January 6, as well as his “fight like hell” screed on the Ellipse, shortly before several thousand insurrectionists took him at his word, marched up Pennsylvania Ave. and sacked the Capitol.
The Proud Boys and other anti-government extremists with a propensity for violence took him seriously on that ignominious day. They might do the same in Waco.
The Trump campaign communications team is disavowing any connection between the anniversary of the Waco massacre and Trump’s first campaign event. According to spokesman Steven Cheung:
“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 – Dallas/Ft Worth, Houston, Austin, and San Antonio – while providing the necessary infrastructure to hold a rally of this magnitude. This is the ideal location to have as many supporters from across the state and in neighboring states attend this historic rally,”
Like the Houston Chronicle, Texas Monthly finds Waco a hate symbol and a call to continued insurrection.
What kind of symbol is it, though? Heidi Beirich, cofounder of the Global Project Against Hate and Extremism, noted in an interview with USA Today this week that “Waco is hugely symbolic on the far right,” and that “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.” Mary Trump, the former president’s niece and a famously outspoken critic of her uncle, said in a tweet Thursday night that hosting the rally in Waco is “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.”
The months-long standoff in Waco was a radicalizing event for many in the anti-government movement; Oklahoma City bomber Timothy McVeigh, who killed 168 people in 1995, cited “what the U.S. government did to Waco” as part of his motivation for the attack. Trump, meanwhile, has increasingly made common cause with anti-government types since losing his 2020 bid to remain in the government’s highest office. In addition to inspiring an insurrection against that government in an attempt to remain in power, and then portraying those who were convicted of their crimes as wrongfully imprisoned martyrs, Trump’s own beef with the same Justice Department whose ATF and FBI were on the ground at the Branch Davidian compound thirty years ago has escalated since his South Florida beach club was raided last year in an attempt to recover classified documents. He’s declared federal agents to be “vicious monsters,” echoing rhetoric he has used against rank-and-file members of the FBI since even before his presidency ended, when he called them “scum.”
All of this dovetails neatly with the media attacks on President Trump for not lying down and acquiescing to his political indictment in New York.
Republican members of Congress validated Trump's irresponsible rhetoric before January 6, echoing his false claims of voter fraud
Now, Republicans in Congress are doing the same thing, validating his reckless attacks on Bragg
— Judd Legum (@JuddLegum) March 24, 2023
The Message is Spot On
While President Trump is not my first choice for 2024, I think that holding the rally at Waco shows a critical part of the battlefield for the next election. Our federal government no longer subscribes to the principle of “that government is best which governs least.” We no longer have the right to be left alone. A more significant problem is that federal law enforcement has been weaponized to punish citizens who deviate from approved beliefs. I’d always thought “enemy of the state” was a label Stalinist regimes slapped on their enemies…until January 6 when suddenly misdemeanor trespass could provoke a nationwide hue-and-cry.
While I think everyone should be subject to the same laws, I find it telling that no move was made to prosecute either Bill or Hillary Clinton for some pretty flagrant felonies…and maybe a bit of pedophilia and sex trafficking, if the Lolita Express stories are true…while two states and the federal government are investigating President Trump. It is almost as if someone wants to create the conditions for political violence as a pretext for a crackdown (The Political Persecution of President Trump Is Not Going to Make Trump or His Supporters Go Away or Accept the Outcome and Lindsey Graham Predicts Violence if the Persecution of President Trump Continues). These are not “Trump” issues; these are issues any Republican will be forced to confront.
The Left Doesn’t Fear Violence, It Fears Losing Power
Nothing President Trump says Saturday is going to incite violence. Sane people on the left know this. What they are reacting to is the likelihood that Trump will be a metaphor for the effects of endemic government cruelty. From Ruby Ridge to Waco to the COVID-19 lockdowns, the government has become increasingly aggressive in asserting its ability to control what citizens believe and how they choose to live. While it is difficult to draw attention to the daily injustices, a former president running on the theme of, “if they did this to me, can you imagine what they will do to you and your family?” has to scare the living hell out of a lot of people. And it should.
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