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"The crowd began to thin": Trump Waco rally crowd started filing out after just "30 minutes"

By Gabriella Ferrigine,


Thousands turned out in droves to see former President Donald Trump kick off his 2024 campaign in Waco, Texas on Saturday but some of his supporters did not stay very long.

The Waco Tribune's Mike Copeland spoke with a number of attendees, many of whom had traveled from other parts of Texas or had arrived at Waco Regional Airport, the site of the rally, very early in the morning.

The airport parking lots opened at 8 am but Trump did not arrive until around 6 pm and the rally concluded by around 7:30 pm.

"About 30 minutes into the rally, the crowd began to thin," Copeland wrote, "with people getting a head start on the walk back to the parking lots, designated and otherwise. Several leaving early said they accomplished what they wanted to achieve by showing up for the rally, enduring traffic and long lines. Some said after hours on the tarmac, they were tired, hungry or both and wanted to get home."

Trump and his campaign faced backlash for holding his inaugural 2024 rally on the 30th anniversary of the botched Waco siege, in which a 51-day battle between the federal government and a religious cult killed dozens.

"Feels like not enough people are acknowledging Trump essentially held an pro-domestic terrorist rally over the weekend," tweeted Democratic commentator Kaivan Shroff. "In all seriousness," he added, "remember the weeks of outrage over the (incredibly accurate) 'basket of deplorables' comment and compare it to the response this truly dangerous rally is receiving. It's alarming."

The Waco siege remains heavily influential in stoking anti-government sentiment and has become emblematic of many ideals co-opted by militant groups. An editorial board at the Houston Chronicle argued ahead of the rally that when "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."

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"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 I-10," the board wrote, adding: "The GOP-friendly city of Waco — Trump won McLennan County by more than 20 percentage points in 2020 — has every right, of course, to host a former president, the leading contender for the 2024 Republican presidential nomination, but 'Waco,' the symbol... means something else entirely. Waco' has become an Alamo of sorts, a shrine for the Proud Boys, the Three Percenters, the Oath Keepers, and other anti-government extremists and conspiracists."

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