WACO, Texas — The first of the former president’s 2024 campaign rallies began in the Lone Star State Saturday.
“Two years ago we were a great nation, and two years ago we’ll be a great nation again,” Donald Trump said to a musical backdrop before an estimated crowd of 15,000 at the Waco Regional Airport in Central Texas.
Supporters were lined up for hours — some camping overnight to get a good view of the 45th President — as parking capacity was pushed to the limit. Watch the rally at the link below this article.
Landing his 757-200 at the airport roughly an hour before his evening speech (to the tune of “Danger Zone” from the Top Gun soundtrack, by the way), Trump hit several familiar tunes in his speech, vowing to continue what he started in 2016 — all-but deputizing the crowd to “totally obliterate the deep state,” “drive out the globalists,” “throw off the political class,” “rout the fake news media” and “political class,” “stand up to the RINOs,” “and beat Joe Biden and every single Democrat.”
As the threat of a spurious arrest looms, Trump did not hold back nor beg for any clemency, calling the investigation by Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg “rigged” and designed to make him ineligible to run. Trump balked at assertions he paid adult film actress Stormy Daniels to keep quiet about an affair with him. Trump denied the affair and any “hush money” — “the prosecutors have nothing.”
“The Department of Injustice in Washington D.C. was investigating me for something that is not a crime, not a misdemeanor, and not an affair. I never liked Horseface,” he said, likely a physical description of Daniels. The investigation, he said, resembles “something out of the Stalinist Russia horror show.” Printed signs around the airport stating “Witch Hunt” dotted the crowd.
Nor did Trump pull any punches on his usual criticisms of the Biden Administration, nor liberalism in general. If elected for a new term, Trump said he would work to hold China responsible for COVID-19 (which he called the China Virus), would stand up for a federal definition of there being only two biological sexes, and would eradicate Critical Race Theory teaching in public schools.
Foreshadowing the 2024 election season, Trump said he would “fight like hell” for U.S. Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene should she run for U.S. Senate.
Prior to Trump’s speech, several allies took to the main stage including Greene, Classic Rock artist and longtime supporter Ted Nugent (with the National Anthem), Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick, Texas Agriculture Commissioner Sid Miller, U.S. Reps. Roger Williams and Wesley Hunt of Texas and Matt Gaetz of Florida, and former U.S. Rep. Mayra Flores of Texas.
As to his possible opponents, Trump took a swing at expected presidential rival Gov. Ron DeSantis of Florida. “Florida has been tremendously successful for many years long before this guy became governor,” Trump said. No criticism was lobbed at his UN Ambassador pick former South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley or others who have announced.
From the hip: Trump 2.0 this is not. This is the same candidate Donald Trump in form as well as in speech. And though now 76 years old, he shows no sign of slowing down.
The Don said the tour of smaller airport around the country began in Texas due to the defiant symbolism the state and former standalone republic represents. He invoked the “Come and Take It” moment when Texians in Gonzales stood against Mexican imperial forces with nothing but a small cannon.
Ultra-liberal HuffPost, however, engineered a different take, pulling a quote from a Branch Davidian minister to assert that Trump was making a subtle statement on the 30th-year anniversary of the deadly standoff in Waco between the federal government and residents of the infamous compound near Waco.
And the once-venerable Associated Press issued a wire report minutes after the rally began, full of weasel words and presumptions about the 2021 U.S. Capitol break-in following a largely peaceful rally to delay the certification of voters until audits could be completed. In the AP’s own biased words:
In an extraordinary display, Trump opened his rally by playing a song, “Justice for All,” that features a choir of men imprisoned for their role in the Jan. 6, 2021, deadly insurrection at the U.S. Capitol singing the national anthem and a recording of Trump reciting the Pledge of Allegiance. Some footage from the insurrection was shown on screens [sic].
Whichever image is invoked — of Mount Carmel, protestors in Nancy Pelosi‘s office, or betrayed Texas settlers — Trump is nonetheless casting a vision of a standoff. “Either the Deep State destroys America or we destroy the Deep State,” he said, meeting raucous cheers.
It’s clear the audience felt the same, as are Republican voters who are currently placing Trump at the top of presidential polls.
Hayride contributor Leland Freeman contributed to this report and was present at the event.