Why is Donald Trump kicking off his 2024 campaign in Waco?

Why is Donald Trump kicking off his 2024 campaign in Waco?

Dan Solomon writes:

On Saturday evening, Donald Trump will hold his first official rally of the 2024 campaign cycle. He won’t be doing so in his home state of Florida, however. Nor will he address a crowd of potential swing voters in Michigan, Pennsylvania, or Wisconsin. No, the twice-impeached former president will formally launch his third bid for the office at Waco Regional Airport—less than ten miles northwest of the heart of the city, along a remote stretch of land broken up mostly by a smattering of McLennan County’s finest gas stations, oil-change shops, and self-storage facilities. As presidential campaign kickoff events go, it’s an unlikely spot.

One particular detail about the event, however, has attracted some extra attention since the rally was announced: it’ll happen in the midst of the thirtieth anniversary of the 51-day standoff between federal agents and the Branch Davidian cult. Trump may not actively seek to draw comparisons between himself and cult leader David Koresh, but he has made it clear that he sees himself as the target of unjust overreach by federal agents, a common claim made by those on the far right about the events that took place outside of Waco back in the spring of 1993. And some of both his critics and supporters have noticed the parallel. Far-right conspiracy theorist Laura Loomer, a Trump supporter, posted that she considered the choice of location for the event “very symbolic!”

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.” [Continue reading…]

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