Trump dodges question over Waco allegations by bragging about crowd size

Former President Donald Trump ignored a question from Newsmax on Friday after being asked about accusations that his planned rally in Waco, Texas, intended to provoke symbolism related to the 1993 Waco siege.

Trump is holding his first official campaign rally for the 2024 presidency Saturday night at Waco Regional Airport. But the choice of location has raised concerns because of Waco’s importance to far-right extremists, as Trump’s rally comes on the 30th anniversary of the Waco siege, a failed federal raid on the sect nun Branch Davidian, who left 86 dead after a 51-day stalemate.

The headquarters site has become a symbol for far-right and anti-government groups, including some that have shown steadfast loyalty to the former president.

Former President Donald Trump arrives for an event at the Adler Theater March 13, 2023 in Davenport, Iowa. Trump’s first official campaign rally for his third presidential bid will take place Saturday in Waco, Texas, which has sparked controversy due to the city’s symbolism for right-wing extremists.
Scott Olson/Getty Images

In an editorial by its editorial board on Thursday, the Houston Chronicle said Trump was sending a “loud air horn” to some of his supporters by choosing Waco for the rally, adding that the city “has become a kind of Alamo, a sanctuary for the Proud Boys, the Three Percenters, the Oath Keepers and other anti-government extremists and conspirators.”

The former president’s spokesman, Steven Cheung, previously said Newsweek that the central Texas city was chosen by Trump’s campaign “because it is centrally located to the four largest metropolitan areas in Texas – Dallas/Ft. Worth, Houston, Austin and San Antonio – while providing the necessary infrastructure to organize a gathering of this magnitude.”

“It’s the perfect place for so many fans from across the state and neighboring states to attend this historic gathering,” Cheung said.

During an interview with Newsmax host Rob Schmitt on Friday, Trump was asked about his “thoughts” on accusations that he deliberately chose the city in order “to fan the Waco fires.”

In response, however, the former president instead spoke about his estimates of the size of the crowd that would turn up on Saturday.

“Well, I knew there would be tens of thousands of people we were going to get, you, you know, many, many tens of thousands, the line is already miles trying to get in,” said Trump, “We’re gonna have a great time in Waco, we’re gonna have a great time in Texas.”

“We have tremendous support,” he continued. “We’ve got a lot of congressmen coming, a lot of great people in politics coming, and especially people from Texas going, and it’s going to be a really big gathering.”

Local media estimate that around 10,000 to 15,000 people will flock to the city of around 139,500 for Trump’s rally.

As Newsweek previously reported, several Texas GOP lawmakers told Insider they could not attend, and a speaker list for the event has yet to be confirmed.

Aides to Representative Troy Nehls said the congressman had an engagement in Washington, DC, the same day. Representative Michael McCaul and Texas GOP Chairman Matt Rinaldi also said they could not attend. Congressman Pete Sessions, a native of Waco, told the outlet that he also had previous commitments on Saturday.

While Trump’s morale over the rally remains high, his attendance could potentially plummet thanks to a ploy by his niece, Mary Trump, who encouraged her Twitter followers on Thursday to book tickets in advance to “ensure that most of the seats are empty”. when the traitor comes on the scene.”

The former president’s rally comes as Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg completes his investigation into payments made to adult film star Stormy Daniels in Trump’s first presidential election in 2016. Trump continued to deny any wrongdoing and ended his Newsmax interview by saying that Bragg’s investigation and potential indictment is an example of “militarization” by the government.

“They run elections with prosecutors, that’s what they do,” Trump said.

Newsweek contacted the Republican Party of Texas through its website for comment.


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