Trump announces first 2024 campaign rally in Waco as Texas city marks 30th anniversary of cult siege
Donald Trump will hold his first 2024 presidential campaign rally in Waco, Texas, on 25 March, within the 30th anniversary period of the deadly 51-day law enforcement siege at the compound of the Branch Davidians religious cult.
A statement from the Trump campaign announcing the rally points to his support among Texas Republican voters in recent polling from a right-wing media firm, finding that the former president leads in the state against potential 2024 rival Ron DeSantis.
February polling from the Texas Politics Project at the University of Texas at Austin found that 56 per cent of Republican voters surveyed in the poll believe Mr Trump should run.
Mr Trump, with his campaign hailing Texas as “Trump Country,” was once a force of nature with the state’s GOP, though his political future in the state is shaping up to look much different in 2024 compared to his campaigns in 2016 and 2020.
Republican US Rep Chip Roy recently endorsed the Florida governor, whom he called “a man of conviction.” Governor Greg Abbott also did not attend Mr Trump’s campaign rally in October 2020 two days before early voting began.
Mr Trump’s first rally of his 2024 campaign appears to have been scheduled in the middle of an austere anniversary for the region, marking 30 years since the 1993 siege at Mount Carmel Center ranch in Elk, Texas, that concluded with a fire that engulfed the compound and killed 76 people, including children and cult leader David Koresh.
Federal agents with the US Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms were met with a gunfire while attempting to search the property in February 1993, igniting a siege that ended on 19 April.
Mr Trump’s campaign rally announcement also comes as the former president potentially faces looming criminal indictments from prosecutors in his home state of New York, involving hush money payments to adult film star Stormy Daniels during his 2016 campaign. His actions also are at the centre of an investigation in Georgia, where he sought to pressure election officials to overturn 2020 presidential election results after losing the state to Joe Biden.
Mr Trump also is at the centre of investigations from the US Department of Justice involving the attack on the US Capitol on 6 January, 2021 and the mishandling of classified documents at his Mar-a-Lago property after leaving the White House.