Washington, DC – Tomorrow, Donald Trump will hold a rally in Waco, Texas, amidst the 30-year anniversary of the siege of the Branch Davidian compound. The incident has long been an important symbol of the militia movement and other hard-right extremists. Timothy McVeigh drove to Waco to distribute far-right literature during the Branch Davidian compound siege before blowing up the Oklahoma City federal building and killing 168 people, two years later on the anniversary of the Waco incident. Now, the Trump rally continues a deeply disturbing pattern of Trump animating an approving atmosphere for hard-right political violence.
As Heidi Beirich, co-founder of the Global Project Against Hate and Extremism, told USA Today’s Will Carless, “Waco is hugely symbolic on the far right. There’s not really another place in the U.S. that you could pick that would tap into these deep veins of anti-government hatred – Christian nationalist skepticism of the government – and I find it hard to believe that Trump doesn’t know that Waco represents all of these things.”
From Charlottesville to January 6 and telling the Proud Boys to “stand by” on the Presidential debate stage, there is no shortage of examples of Trump inciting or offering his tacit approval for political violence from his supporters and white supremacists.
One key element of this disturbing trend America’s Voice has been closely monitoring is the mainstreaming of the great replacement conspiracy theory. A racist conspiracy about a coordinated invasion of non-white migrants to replace white America that has inspired the domestic terrorists who attacked El Paso in 2019 and Buffalo last year. This racist fiction is now a regular part of Trump’s stump speech, and he will most assuredly use his Saturday rally to echo the same “invasion” conspiracy that has inspired multiple domestic terrorists from a location infamously connected to the twisted development of one of the nation’s most deadly domestic terrorists.
According to Zachary Mueller, Political Director of America’s Voice:
“From the very beginning of his pursuit for the White House, Donald Trump has embraced a clear pattern of rhetoric and symbolism that courts political violence from his supporters and white supremacists. Trump and his latest presidential campaign know exactly the symbolic message they are sending with their rally in Waco — an approving wink to future hard-right political violence. But for Trump and his enablers, the potential for violence is the point.
From the moment he descended that escalator to announce his first run for President, Trump has pushed the limits on dehumanizing rhetoric towards immigrant communities. But the threat and the climate of violence has always been much wider than migrants, who have often been the central target of Trump and MAGA Republicans’ ire. They have been putting an increasingly large target on the backs of Americans because of the color of their skin or the accent they speak with, creating a threat to our democracy and putting the public safety of all Americans at risk.”