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Trump rallying in Waco on Saturday as anticipation mounts over potential indictment

The Texas Tribune logo: MainLogo The Texas Tribune 3/25/2023 Robert Downen

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WACO — Former President Donald Trump will hold his first campaign event of the 2024 presidential election season on Saturday in Waco.

Trump’s rally, which begins at 5 p.m. at Waco Regional Airport, comes days after he said he was to be arrested by New York authorities as part of an ongoing investigation into alleged hush payments to former adult film star Stormy Daniels. Though the arrest, which Trump said was to occur Tuesday, did not happen, the former president has continued to stoke fears of violence. On Friday, he warned of “potential death and destruction” should he be taken into custody. A Manhattan grand jury is expected to resume its deliberations on the case next week.

It’s unclear who will join Trump onstage at the Saturday event. In the wake of an underwhelming 2022 midterm performance, many Texas Republican leaders have either stayed quiet about Trump’s presidential bid or broken with him entirely, often in favor of Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis.

[As Donald Trump mounts his 2024 presidential bid, his support among Texas officials is waning]

But Trump still has overall favorable ratings among Texas Republican voters: In February, 56% said he should run again, according to polling from the Texas Politics Project at the University of Texas at Austin.

And Trump’s potential arrest could galvanize his hardcore supporters, including extremist groups that experts say have been motivated by the timing and location of Trump’s Saturday appearance.

Trump’s rally is being held in the middle of the 30-year anniversary of a 51-day standoff between federal agents and members of David Koresh’s Branch Davidian cult, which ended in a massive blaze that killed 76 people, including 25 children.

The siege was among the most galvanizing moments of the modern-day white supremacist and anti-government movements; it has routinely been cited as inspiration by domestic terrorists — including Timothy McVeigh, who protested outside the Waco standoff and, four years to the day after it ended in a deadly blaze, bombed a federal building in Oklahoma City, killing 168 people.

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