‘Let’s elect Donald Trump.’ These Texas lawmakers show support at Waco rally

A handful of Texas lawmakers, including a North Texas congressman, were among those to address a Waco crowd ready to welcome Donald Trump to Texas.

U.S. Rep. Roger Williams, whose district includes part of Tarrant County, spoke in the hours leading to the former president’s remarks.

The rally at Waco Regional Airport was Trump’s first since announcing his 2024 presidential campaign.

“At the end of the day, all of us have to stand with President Trump and we have to decide: Do we want a country of 330 million victims or 300 million patriots?” Williams said. “I know the answer and you know the answer. So let’s make America great again. Let’s elect Donald Trump.”

Other Texas officials who spoke were Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick, Agriculture Commissioner Sid Miller and U.S. Rep. Wesley Hunt, a Houston Republican. All of the officials have previously been endorsed by Trump.

“Re-elect Donald Trump,” Miller urged the crowd, offering Trump’s election as a solution to things like inflation, drag queen story hours, fixing the power grid and finishing construction of a border wall.

Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick pushed back against the idea that the rally was intentionally aligned with the 30th anniversary of the Branch Davidian siege in Mount Carmel.

“I picked Waco,” he said.

Trump’s campaign on Saturday also announced its “Texas Elected Leadership Team.”

Tarrant County area members include Williams and U.S. Reps. Michael Burgess and Beth Van Duyne. Miller, Patrick and Attorney General Ken Paxon are also among those supporting the former president.

Trump has made a number of stops to Texas in the past, including in May 2022 at a Houston NRA convention, CPAC Dallas in August 2022 and a stop in Robstown ahead of the November election.

The former president was not joined Saturday by Gov. Greg Abbott, whose name has been floated as a potential presidential contender. A spokesperson didn’t return requests for comment on whether he would attend the event. He was scheduled to speak at a National Border Patrol Council event in Houston.

Texas Sens. John Cornyn and Ted Cruz also weren’t on the speaking lineup. A spokesman for Cruz said the senator would spend the weekend in Houston with his family.

Representatives for Tarrant County Judge Tim O’Hare did not return a request for comment on whether he was attending, and a spokesperson for Fort Worth Mayor Mattie Parker said she wouldn’t be.

Tarrant County GOP chair Rick Barnes had plans booked for the weekend ahead of the rally’s announcement, he wrote in a text to a reporter. Texas GOP chair Matt Rinaldi also did not attend.

“We are focused on the legislative session, where the Texas Senate just heard testimony on historic school choice legislation and billions in property tax relief were passed,” James Wesolek, a spokesman for the state party, said in an emailed statement.

There’s a definite risk to being alongside Trump at the rally, said University of Houston Political Science professor Brandon Rottinghaus.

“Donald Trump’s brand is even more toxic than it was,” Rottinghaus said. “Among even Republicans, I think there’s still, there’s a lot of second guessing about whether or not … Donald Trump is the future of the Republican Party.”

As Trump visited Texas, he was facing a potential indictment for alleged hush money paid to pornographic actress Stormy Daniels. Trump has denied the allegations.