(Waco) Threatened with indictment, Donald Trump offers his first campaign rally for the presidential election on Saturday in a highly symbolic place, the Texas town of Waco, the scene 30 years ago of a deadly assault against a sect opposed to federal power.
The former US president, who claimed – wrongly – that he would be “arrested” on March 21 in New York in a payment case to pornographic actress Stormy Daniels, will take the stage at 5 p.m. Eastern Time), for his “first rally for the 2024 election”.
The city of Waco, population 130,000, remains associated with the anti-government Davidian sect.
In the spring of 1993, the world was suspended for 51 days by the FBI’s siege of a ranch in which armed followers of guru David Koresh had taken refuge. Seventy-six cult members, including 20 children, were found dead after the ranch fire. Four police officers were also killed.
Donald Trump’s campaign team did not respond to requests from AFP about the choice of Waco for the rally.
The former president, also under threat from investigations into his 2020 Georgia election lobbying and handling of classified White House records, regularly poses as the victim of a mysterious “shadow state.”
The FBI’s spectacular search of his Florida residence? “A shocking abuse of power.” The two infamous congressional impeachment proceedings against him? “A Witch Hunt”.
By returning to his rally base in Waco – where up to 15,000 people are expected – Donald Trump is also reconnecting with an exercise he loves. The scenes of the former president, sketching small dance steps, or throwing his famous red caps to the crowd are now cult among his followers.
In the Texas city, some of his supporters were already stamping their feet with impatience on Friday evening, visibly unconcerned by the legal troubles of their idol.
“Everything is distorted to give him a bad image,” Kelly Heath, 49, told AFP, seeing it as an attempt to “silence” him.
Above all, this evening offers the Republican the opportunity to breathe new life into his campaign, which for the moment does not enjoy the hoped-for momentum even if most polls give him the winner of a primary.
The billionaire, who continues against all odds to evoke supposed “frauds” never proven in the 2020 election, has also seen part of the right – and in particular his wealthy donors – turn to the new champion of the right tough, Ron DeSantis, 44.
The governor of Florida is not yet officially launched in the race, but will undoubtedly be one of his biggest rivals for the Republican nomination in 2024.