Thirty years ago, federal agents seized the Branch Davidians in Waco, Texas.
Trump's scheduled rally in Waco falls in the middle of the anniversary of the months-long standoff.
The Houston Chronicle's editorial board said the choice and timing was deliberate.
A Texas newspaper called former President Donald Trump's choice to host a rally in the city of Waco ahead of a possible indictment as a "blaring air horn" for far-right groups.
"When Donald Trump flies into Waco on Saturday evening for the first major campaign event of his 2024 reelection quest, dog ears won't be the only ones twitching. Trump doesn't do subtle; dog-whistle messages are not his style. The more apt metaphor is the blaring air horn of a Mack 18-wheeler barreling down I10," The Houston Chronicle's Editorial Board wrote in a piece published Friday.
The New York Times reported that Trump's visit to Waco falls on the 30-year anniversary of the Branch Davidian siege. The months-long standoff, also known as the Waco massacre, between federal agents and members of the doomsday Branch Davidian sect resulted in the deaths of over 80 people.
Trump, earlier this month, claimed he would be arrested by the Manhattan DA investigating a $130,000 hush-money payment to the adult film actress Stormy Daniels. Although no indictment has been announced, Trump has continued to rally his supporters and make allusions to violence. Late Thursday, the former president warned that an indictment could result in 'potential death & destruction'
On Thursday morning, he called Manhattan district attorney Alvin Bragg a "Soros backed animal" — referring to a common anti-Semitic trope. Trump also mocked calls for his supporters to remain peaceful.
Trump supporters like Reps. Marjorie Taylor Greene of Georgia and Matt Gaetz of Florida as well as conservative pundits like Dan Bongino have spoken out in support of Trump.
The Chronicle said Trump's visit and timing were "deliberate," and called Waco "a shrine for the Proud Boys, the Three Percenters, the Oath Keepers and other anti-government extremists and conspiracists."
A headstone was made at the site of the siege that reads: "On February 28, 1993, a Church and its members known as Branch Davidians came under attack by ATF and FBI agents. For 51 days the Davidians and their leader, David Koresh, stood proudly."
That site is visited by extremist groups, and conspiracy theorists like Alex Jones have funded the construction of a new chapel, the Chronicle said in its editorial. The paper also noted that while there is no connection between the conspiracy theorists of today and the Branch Davidians, those right-wing groups find meaning in Trump's visit to Waco and said Americans should be concerned.
"They have heard him castigate the FBI and the "deep state," particularly after agents searched for classified documents at Mar-a-Lago. How they'll respond to his remarks, particularly if he shows up as the first former president in American history to face criminal charges, has law enforcement in Waco and beyond taking every precaution. What he says will likely set the tone for the presidential campaign to come. Every American should be concerned," The Chronicle wrote.
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