At a meeting in Waco, former stronghold of an anti-federal sect, Trump denies any crime

Threatened with indictment, Donald Trump denied any “crime” and claimed his innocence on Saturday in Waco, a highly symbolic place for his first campaign rally for the US presidential election. To address his fans, the former American president had chosen Waco, Texas, in the South of the United States, the scene 30 years ago of a murderous assault against a sect opposed to federal power.

Donald Trump made no allusion to this drama and a spokesman told the press that the Texas city had been chosen because of its central location and its good connections. Donald Trump has been brandishing the threat of imminent arrest in New York for more than a week in a payout case to porn actress Stormy Daniels just before her 2016 victory.

Justice seeks to determine if Donald Trump is guilty of false declarations, an offense, or breach of the laws on electoral financing, a criminal offense, by having paid money to the actress to buy her silence. “The New York District Attorney, under the auspices and direction of the ‘Department of Injustice’ in Washington DC” is conducting an investigation for “something that is neither a felony, nor a misdemeanor, nor an affair,” a he said in front of his supporters, denouncing once again a “witch hunt”.

“I love him, he is our saviour”

If several thousand people came to applaud the billionaire for this oratory exercise that he loves, under the Texan sun, the crowd remained far from the 15,000 people expected, noted journalists on the spot. “We represent a huge power behind Donald Trump, who is just waiting to be unleashed,” assured a faithful, Kelly Heath, 49, who traveled several hundred kilometers from Georgia (southeast) to applaud his idol . “I love him, he is our saviour,” added Marianna Bodrogi, a 69-year-old retiree.

Donald Trump drew loud applause by attacking Manhattan prosecutor Alvin Bragg, in charge of the investigation, and his colleagues, calling them “radical left maniacs”. On March 21, he had tried in vain to mobilize a tide of supporters in the streets of Manhattan to oppose what he had presented as an imminent arrest, and which did not take place.

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“All presidents have had mistresses. Why not him? said Louis, a 72-year-old retiree, accompanied by his 16-year-old grandson, whom he says is a “big fan” of Trump even though he is not of voting age. The former president is also under threat of investigations into his 2020 Georgia election lobbying and handling of classified White House records.

“God, Guns, Trump in Waco, Texas”

He tried on Saturday to find a second wind with an acquired crowd, among the stands selling the entire panoply of the Trump brand, from “Trump 2024” and “Trump Girl” caps to a white shirt with the slogan: “God, the weapons, Trump in Waco, Texas”. Because even if most polls give him the winner of a primary to date, his campaign is struggling to obtain the expected momentum.

The billionaire, who continues against all odds to evoke alleged “frauds” never proven in the 2020 election, has seen part of the right – and in particular his wealthy donors – turn to the new champion of the hard right , Ron DeSantis, 44 years old. The governor of Florida is not yet officially launched in the race but will undoubtedly be one of his biggest rivals for the Republican nomination in 2024. The Fox News channel, which was once acquired by the billionaire, has not covered the Waco meeting at least.

This city of 130,000 inhabitants remains associated with the anti-government Davidian sect. In the spring of 1993, the world was suspended for 51 days by the FBI’s siege of a ranch in which armed followers of guru David Koresh had entrenched themselves. Seventy-six members of the sect, including 20 children, were found dead after the ranch fire. Four police officers were also killed.

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