Trump Waco rally today: What we know about his first big 2024 campaign stop
Facing down a possible indictment in a Manhattan hush-money probe — in what would be the first charges against a former president in U.S. history — former President Donald Trump is headed to Waco, Texas Saturday evening for the first rally of his 2024 presidential campaign.
The central Texas campaign stop comes just days before the 30-year anniversary of a botched government raid in the city that ended in dozens of deaths and lasting anti-government sentiment.
Some extremism experts say that's exactly why the former president selected Waco for the location of his first major rally, though others argue the deep-red city's political significance stands independent of its history.
Here's what we know ahead of the rally:
Trump Waco rally live: How to watch
Trump's first rally of his 2024 campaign will be live-streamed on C-SPAN.
Updated guidance shows he is expected to begin speaking after his plane lands at 6:35 p.m. Eastern.
Ted Nugent Zelensky rant kicks off Trump rally
Trump’s rally kicked off with a performance from Texas-based rocker Ted Nugent, an avowed conservative who has long supported Trump.
Nugent performed a rendition of the Star Spangled Banner on his guitar and riled up the crowd by criticizing the federal government under President Joe Biden.
He also criticized American aid to Ukraine, railing against Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy.
What happened in Waco 30 years ago?
Thirty years ago, in 1993, agents from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms raided the Branch Davidian compound in Waco and were met with gunfire from the occupants.
A standoff ensued and ended violently 51 days later. A tear gas raid and fire destroyed the compound, leaving dozens dead. Overall, 86 people died, including 28 children and four federal agents.
The botched raid has become emblematic of government failings and used to push anti-government conspiracy theories for years.
What time is Trump speaking tonight?
Trump is scheduled to begin delivering remarks at 5 p.m. local time, or 6 p.m. Eastern, though the doors for the Waco Regional Airport rally opened at noon.
The rally began with a performance from Ted Nugent, the Texas-based rocker who played the Star Spangled Banner on his guitar.
Why is Trump in Waco?
There are plenty of reasons Trump's 2024 campaign could have selected the Texas city.
Waco is about as centrally located as you can get in Texas, within 200 miles of heavily Republican areas around Dallas-Fort Worth, Houston, Austin, and San Antonio.
The region is also deeply red and receptive to Trumpian politics.
Why Waco, Texas?: Where is Donald Trump holding his first 2024 campaign rally? Waco, Texas.
Extremism experts weigh in: Trump holding his next rally in Waco, Texas, sends a message to the far right, experts say
Trump's legal woes: What is an indictment? Why would Trump get arrested? Here's what we know about the process
Contributing: Ryan Autullo, Erin Mansfield, David Jackson, Will Carless
This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Trump Waco rally live: How to watch his first major 2024 stop