Former President Donald Trump is expected to hold a campaign rally on Saturday in Waco, Texas, returning to the trail amid his “death and destruction” warnings stemming from investigations into his actions.
The rally at Waco Regional Airport is a throwback to mega-rallies reminiscent of Trump’s 2016 and 2020 campaigns as the Republican field for the 2024 presidential race begins to take shape.
The former president’s return to his favorite event staging comes as he faces investigations in New York over a silent payment, in Georgia over his efforts to nullify the 2020 election and by the attorney Department of Justice Special Jack Smith on classified documents the FBI found at Mar-A-Lago, his attempts to steal the 2020 election, and his role in the January 6, 2021, uprising.
In recent days, the former president has made increasingly belligerent remarks about those investigations, including predicting his own Manhattan indictment and arrest last week — which didn’t happen — and urging the supporters to demonstrate.
Raging at Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg on his Truth Social social media platform on Friday, Trump said the criminal charges could result in “potential death and destruction” and “could be catastrophic to our country.”
“MISCONDUCT OF THE PROSECUTOR! said Trump in another message.
On Thursday, he said Bragg “would rather charge an innocent man and create years of hatred, chaos and turmoil, than give him his well-deserved ‘freedom’.” The whole country sees what is happening, and they are not going to put up with it anymore. They’ve had enough!
The Manhattan grand jury investigating Trump did not conclude this week. In other inquests, Trump’s defense attorney Evan Corcoran appeared before a federal grand jury in Washington on Friday, where he was set to answer inquest questions about classified documents the former president swore. is beaten unsuccessfully to retain. And a federal judge has ordered several former Trump aides, including former chief of staff Mark Meadows, to testify before a grand jury as part of the criminal investigation into efforts to nullify the 2020 election.
At the same time Trump is attacking those who investigate him, he is stepping up attacks on Florida Governor Ron DeSantis – who early polls suggest could be the former president’s main rival for the 2024 Republican nomination.
DeSantis has yet to enter the race. But with a new book and an increase in out-of-state travel, the former House Freedom Caucus member appears to be one step closer to a presidential bid.
He also demonstrated his willingness for the first time this week to brawl with Trump.
While accusing Bragg of abuse of power, DeSantis needled Trump in front of a crowd in Panama City, Florida on Monday, working out the details of the $130,000 payment to porn star Stormy Daniels days before the 2016 election in his remarks. DeSantis said he doesn’t “know what goes into paying a porn star silent money to get silence on some type of alleged affair.”
Trump adviser and spokesman Jason Miller tweeted that DeSantis “has finally shown his true colors. A Never Trumper establishment that despises the MAGA base and pretended all the time.
In an interview with British TV host Piers Morgan, DeSantis brushed off Trump’s attempts to turn his name into an unflattering nickname.
“You can call me whatever you want,” said DeSantis, who won re-election in a landslide in 2022 despite the GOP’s worse-than-expected performance nationally, “as long as you also call me a winner”.
In an effort to contrast with the coronavirus pandemic, Trump posted a video on Truth Social on Friday in which DeSantis touted Florida’s efforts to test for Covid-19, alongside Trump’s own skepticism about the need for testing.
Trump also previewed lines of attack he could use again on Saturday in Waco — one that echoes progressive criticism of DeSantis’ record as he heads into a presidential race.
On Thursday, Trump posted on Truth Social that he got more votes in Florida for president than DeSantis got for governor — not to mention that DeSantis won re-election in a midterm year, during which fewer voters have historically voted – and accused the Florida Governor of backing GOP proposals to cut rights programs.
Trump wrote that DeSantis “is, for a Republican, an average governor, he got 1.2 million fewer votes in Florida than me, he fought for massive cuts to Social Security and Medicare. disease, and wanted the minimum Social Security age raised to 70, or more. He is a follower of Paul Ryan and did everything Ryan told him to do…”
DeSantis said in a Fox News interview earlier this month that Republicans would not “disrupt” Social Security.
Ahead of the Waco rally, Trump’s niece, Mary Trump, a clinical psychologist and outspoken critic of the former president, on Twitter urged people to reserve seats without showing up – a ploy reminiscent of a 2020 Trump rally in Tulsa , Oklahoma, where teenagers on TikTok said they were responsible for Trump’s failure to deliver a massive crowd because they taped a large number of posts as a prank.
The Waco rally comes 30 years after federal and state law enforcement raided the Branch Davidian doomsday cult compound in Waco – a 51-day siege that resulted in the deaths of 86 people and has since been considered to be at the extreme right as a symbol of the government’s excess of power.
Trump did not link the campaign rally to the Waco headquarters, and a spokesperson for the former president said Saturday that Waco was chosen as the rally site because of its central location.
“This is the perfect location for so many supporters from across the state and neighboring states to attend this historic rally,” Trump spokesman Steven Cheung said in a statement.
The location is accessible to many population centers in Texas – less than three hours drive from Dallas, Houston, Austin and San Antonio.
But Mary Trump argued on Twitter that the former president’s decision to hold the rally in Waco was ‘a ploy to remind his cult of the infamous 1993 Waco siege, where an anti-government cult fought the FBI. . Dozens of people died. He wants the same violent chaos to save him from justice.
This story was updated with additional information on Saturday.