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Trump campaign rally set as Waco siege anniversary nears

(NewsNation) — Former President Donald Trump is set to hold his first 2024 presidential campaign rally in Texas on March 25 as the anniversary of the deadly Waco siege nears.

City officials tell NewsNation that up to 15,000 rallygoers are expected at Waco Regional Airport for Trump’s Make America Great Again Rally.

The rally comes as the United States nears the 30th anniversary of a deadly siege in Waco that ended in fire and bloodshed between a cult-like group called the Branch Davidians and U.S. and Texas law enforcement agents.

On April 19, 1993, 86 people died at the group’s compound in the 51-day siege, including several children, along with Branch Davidian leader David Koresh.

In a statement, Trump campaign spokesperson Steve Cheung said the rally is being held in Waco “because it is centrally located,” making no mention of the deadly siege and dismissing any connection with extremists.

“President Trump is holding his first campaign rally in Waco in the Super Tuesday state of Texas because it is centrally located and close to all four of Texas’ biggest metropolitan areas — Dallas/Ft. Worth, Houston, Austin and San Antonio — while providing the necessary infrastructure to hold a rally of this magnitude,” the statement from Cheung read. “This is the ideal location to have as many supporters from across the state and in neighboring states attend this historic rally. It also happens to be the home to the Baylor Bears, one of the most prestigious higher education institutions in America.” 

The Waco Tribune-Herald reported that Trump is expected to limit his appearance to the airport.

NewsNation spoke to a Republican County official who said they are happy Trump chose Waco, though they are stumped on why he did.

The official said most politicians pick Dallas, Austin or Houston, but say Waco is where you come to meet with the voters.

 A lot of people watching not only in Texas but across the country to see what Trump might say.

It is his first time speaking publicly on stage since he posted that he expected to be arrested earlier this week in the Manhattan New York DA probe into alleged hush money payments.

The arrest didn’t materialize but officials tell NewsNation the media coverage is only adding to the intrigue in central Texas ahead of his rally.

“All of central Texas is and certainly Waco is excited about the big visit,” said McLellan County Republican leader Dr. Bradford Holland. “There is a lot of buzz and excitement like I’ve not seen. But we’re expecting a big crowd here at the Waco Regional Airport to welcome former President Trump and have a big campaign rally and I think this will be one of the biggest events that have taken place in Waco on the political front.”

As far as safety and security, the city’s mayor told NewsNation that the city and police department are working “diligently and strategically” with multiple other law enforcement agencies, including the Secret Service, to ensure the venue is safe and prepared for the event.”

Reuters contributed to this report.

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