Donald Trump holds first 2024 campaign rally


Texas: Former US President Donald Trump has held the first rally of his 2024 presidential campaign in Waco, Texas, railing against prosecutors investigating him, and employing dark and conspiratorial language to fire up his base ahead of next year’s Republican primary elections.

Trump — facing potential indictment — opened Saturday’s rally by playing a song, “Justice for All,” that features a choir of men imprisoned for their role in the January 6, 2021, insurrection at the United States Capitol singing the national anthem and a recording of Trump reciting the Pledge of Allegiance.

The rally comes as Trump is facing investigations in New York City over a hush money payment, in Georgia over his efforts to overturn the 2020 election and by Justice Department special counsel Jack Smith over classified documents the FBI found at Mar-a-Lago, his attempts to overturn the 2020 election and his role in the January 6, 2021, insurrection.

In recent days, the former president has made increasingly bellicose remarks about those probes, including predicting last week his own indictment and arrest in Manhattan — something that has not come to pass — and urging supporters to protest if he is indicted.

Saturday’s rally included many of Trump’s most often repeated false claims.

Trump declared on Saturday that his “enemies are desperate to stop us,” and “our opponents have done everything they can to crush our spirit and to break our will”.

“But they failed,” he said. “They’ve only made us stronger. And 2024 is the final battle, it’s going to be the big one. You put me back in the White House, their reign will be over and America will be a free nation once again.”

Trump held his rally at the airport grounds in Waco as the city marked the 30th anniversary of a raid by federal agents on the Branch Davidians religious sect there that resulted in 86 deaths, including four law enforcement officers. Many right-wing extremists see the raid as a seminal moment of government overreach, and critics saw the rally’s timing as a nod to Trump’s far-right supporters.

Trump’s campaign insisted the location and timing of the event had nothing to do with the Waco siege or its anniversary.

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