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Trump news – live: Trump claims DA has dropped indictment as his own lawyer condemns his Truth Social posts

Donald Trump has suggested that Manhattan’s district attorney has already dropped the Stormy Daniels hush money case, days after he set off a frenzied news cycle by claiming he would be arrested over the matter.

Speaking to reporters on his plane following a campaign speech in Waco, Texas, he said: “I think they’ve already dropped the case.

“It’s a fake case. Some fake cases, they have absolutely nothing.”

The Manhattan grand jury probing the former president is expected to reconvene in the coming week following several delays, with New York County’s district attorney Alvin Bragg calling off grand jury hearings on 22 and 23 March.

It comes as Mr Trump’s personal lawyer denounced his client’s online attacks against the DA, including a post with a baseball bat next to Mr Bragg.

“I’m not his social media consultant. I think that was an ill-advised post that one of his social media people put up & he quickly took down,” Joe Tacopina told NBC News.

During the Waco rally, Trump called the 2024 election “the final battle,” and went after his potential main rival, Florida governor Ron DeSantis.

Key Points

  • Trump suggests Manhattan DA ‘dropped’ Stormy case

  • Trump treats himself after first 2024 rally speech in Waco – with McDonald’s

  • Trump starts Waco rally with song featuring him and January 6 choir

  • Trump denies having affair with Stormy Daniels repeating insulting nickname at Waco rally

  • In Waco, Trump avoids mentioning standoff but praises insurrectionists and calls for war on deep state

  • Trump ramps up DeSantis attack at Waco rally saying he wept when he begged for endorsement

Trump’s lawyer hits out at his ‘ill-advised’ social media post

05:09 , Shweta Sharma

Donald Trump’s personal lawyer refused to defend his client’s social media posts over his potential indictment.

On Sunday he admitted that Mr Trump’s post sharing a picture of him holding a baseball bat next to a photo of the Manhattan District Attorney was “ill-advised”.

“I’m not his social media consultant,” lawyer Joe Tacopina said on NBC’s Meet the Press. “I think that was an ill-advised post that one of his social media people put up and he quickly took down when he realized the rhetoric and the photo that was attached to it.”

When asked if he is concerned that Mr Trump’s language can lead to a repeat of the January 6 riots, he said he claimed Mr Trump’s language has not led to violence.

“I’m not a Trump PR person. I’m a litigator and a lawyer,” Mr Tacopina said.

“And I’m talking about this case in Manhattan, which is a case that would not be brought if it were anyone other than Donald Trump. When we seek to use a prosecutor’s office to politicize and weaponize a campaign, that’s what’s troubling to me.”

PHOTOS: Trump holds campaign rally in Waco, Texas

05:00 , Gustaf Kilander

Former U.S. President Donald Trump arrives during a rally at the Waco Regional Airport on March 25, 2023 in Waco, Texas (Getty Images)
Former U.S. President Donald Trump arrives during a rally at the Waco Regional Airport on March 25, 2023 in Waco, Texas (Getty Images)
Former President Donald Trump speaks at a campaign rally at Waco Regional Airport Saturday, March 25, 2023, in Waco, Texas (AP)
Former President Donald Trump speaks at a campaign rally at Waco Regional Airport Saturday, March 25, 2023, in Waco, Texas (AP)
Former President Donald Trump speaks with reporters while in flight on his plane after a campaign rally at Waco Regional Airport, in Waco, Texas, Saturday, March 25, 2023, while en route to West Palm Beach, Fla (AP)
Former President Donald Trump speaks with reporters while in flight on his plane after a campaign rally at Waco Regional Airport, in Waco, Texas, Saturday, March 25, 2023, while en route to West Palm Beach, Fla (AP)
Rally attendees listen to Former President Donald Trump speak at his Make America Great Again Rally in Waco, Texas, Saturday, March 25, 2023 (AP)
Rally attendees listen to Former President Donald Trump speak at his Make America Great Again Rally in Waco, Texas, Saturday, March 25, 2023 (AP)
Former President Donald Trump walks to the stage to begin his Make America Great Again Rally in Waco, Texas, Saturday, March 25, 2023 (AP)
Former President Donald Trump walks to the stage to begin his Make America Great Again Rally in Waco, Texas, Saturday, March 25, 2023 (AP)

Trump suggests Manhattan DA ‘dropped’ Stormy case

04:51 , Shweta Sharma

Donald Trump has suggested that Manhattan’s district attorney has already dropped the Stormy Daniels hush money case, days after he set off a frenzied news cycle by claiming he would be arrested over the matter.

Speaking to reporters on his plane following a campaign speech in Waco, Texas, he said: “I think they’ve already dropped the case.

“It’s a fake case. Some fake cases, they have absolutely nothing.”

The Manhattan grand jury probing Mr Trump is expected to reconvene in the coming week

VIDEO: Trump holds first 2024 campaign rally in Waco, Texas

04:30 , The Independent

Trump’s choice of rally venue raises eyebrows

04:00 , AP

Trump’s eyebrow-raising choice of venue in Waco for his first rally came amid the 30th anniversary of a 51-day standoff and deadly siege between U.S. law enforcement and the Branch Davidians that resulted in the deaths of more than 80 members of the religious cult and four federal agents and has become a touchstone for far-right extremists and militia groups.

Trump’s campaign insisted the location and timing of the event had nothing to do with the Waco siege or anniversary. A spokesperson said the site, 17 miles from the Branch Davidian compound, was chosen because it was conveniently situated near four of the state’s biggest metropolitan areas — Dallas/Fort Worth, Houston, Austin and San Antonio — and has the infrastructure to handle a sizable crowd.

Texas Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick said before Trump’s arrival that he was the one who had suggested Waco as the venue. Any suggestion Trump had picked the city because of the anniversary was “fake news. I picked Waco!” he told the crowd.

Trump did not make any direct references in his speech to Waco’s history, telling the crowd of thousands that he told Patrick he wanted to hold his rally in a place with overwhelming support, not “one of those 50-50 areas,” and said he told Patrick, “Let’s go right into the heart of it.”

VIDEO: Trump invokes Jan. 6 at Waco rally ahead of possible charges

03:30 , The Independent

Trump declares innocence in Manhattan DA probe

03:00 , AP

Trump declared his innocence in the Manhattan investigation into a hush money payment made during the 2016 election to porn actor Stormy Daniels to keep her from going public about a sexual encounter she said she had with Trump years earlier. A grand jury hearing the case is expected to meet again on Monday.

Trump said the Manhattan district attorney was investigating him “for something that is not a crime, not a misdemeanor, not an affair.”

Some of Trump’s recent rhetoric, including at the rally, has echoed language he used before the Capitol insurrection by a mob of his supporters seeking to stop the transfer of power to Democrat Joe Biden, who won the presidential election.

Trump declared Saturday that his “enemies are desperate to stop us” and that “our opponents have done everything they can to crush our spirit and to break our will.”

He added: “But they failed. They’ve only made us stronger. And 2024 is the final battle, it’s going to be the big one. You put me back in the White House, their reign will be over and America will be a free nation once again.”

Trump could be indicted soon by a Manhattan grand jury investigating a $130,000 payment that Trump’s longtime lawyer and fixer, Michael Cohen, made as Trump was in the throes of his 2016 presidential campaign.

Trump later reimbursed Cohen and his company logged the reimbursements as a legal expense. Cohen has already served time in prison after pleading guilty to campaign finance charges and lying to Congress, among other crimes.

Trump, facing potential indictment, holds defiant Waco rally

02:30 , AP

Facing a potential indictment, Donald Trump took a defiant stance at a rally Saturday in Waco, disparaging the prosecutors investigating him and predicting his vindication as he rallied supporters in a city made famous by deadly resistance against law enforcement.

With a hand over his heart, Trump stood at attention when his rally opened with a song called “Justice for All” performed by a choir of people imprisoned for their roles in the Jan. 6 insurrection at the U.S. Capitol. Some footage from the insurrection was shown on big screens displayed at the rally site as the choir sang the national anthem and a recording played of Trump reciting the Pledge of Allegiance.

The extraordinary display opened Trump’s first rally of his 2024 Republican presidential campaign. He then launched into a speech brimming with resentments and framed the probes, including a New York grand jury investigation, as political attacks on him and his followers.

“You will be vindicated and proud,” Trump said “The thugs and criminals who are corrupting our justice system will be defeated, discredited and totally disgraced.”

Trump’s event at the airport grounds in Waco was part of a broader effort by the former president to use the potential indictment as a rallying cry for supporters to maintain his status as the GOP frontrunner in what is expected to be a crowded primary. It came one day after Trump raised the specter of violence should he become the first former president in U.S. history to face criminal charges.

VIDEO: Trump holds first 2024 campaign rally in Waco, Texas

02:00 , The Independent

On the ground in Waco, the Trump faithful don’t believe he’ll be indicted: ‘It’s complete garbage’

01:30 , Josh Marcus

Investigators might be closing in on Donald Trump – in New York for hush money; Georgia for election meddling; Washington for mishandling classified documents – but the former president shouldn’t be all that worried, according to his loyal supporters who gathered in Waco, Texas, on Saturday for the kickoff of the 2024 Trump campaign.

“I don’t think it’ll stick,” Trump supporter Karey Cottrell told The Independent of the potential charges in New York, which are expected to drop some time next week.

“It’s complete garbage,” she added. “It’s ridiculous. I didn’t think they would stoop this low.”

Queues started to form early on Saturday morning at Waco Regional Airport where field after field was filled with vehicles decked out in Trump flags.

Read more:

On the ground in Waco, the Trump faithful don’t believe he’ll be indicted

‘He’s playing with fire’: Trump’s history of courting violence collides with Waco campaign rally

01:00 , Josh Marcus

As he enters his 2024 presidential campaign, Donald Trump faces a looming potential indictment in New York, another set of potential charges in Georgia, and other possible criminal charges from a federal special counsel investigation. Meanwhile, a former GOP ally continues to pose a significant threat to his Republican presidential primary election in 2024.

The former president has demanded that his supporters protest and “TAKE OUR NATION BACK!” from what he calls the “CORRUPT & HIGHLY POLITICAL” Manhattan district attorney investigation, but so far only a handful of demonstrators have rallied to his defence at small events in Florida and New York.

Mr Trump, cornered by several investigations and predicting his own arrest in at least one of them, held his first 2024 presidential campaign rally in the city of Waco, Texas – in the middle of the 30th anniversary of the deadly 51-day siege that galvanised the far right and set the stage for the modern militia movement.

Following the attack on the US Capitol on 6 January, 2021, extremism researchers have traced predictions from the former president and his supporters of violence and dysfunction, with ideological echoes of the infamous 1993 federal law enforcement standoff near the same Texas town where Mr Trump has steered his campaign.

“Given what happened on January 6, he’s playing with fire,” professor Matthew Dallek, a political historian of the right and homeland security issues at George Washington University, told The Independent.

Read more:

‘Playing with fire’: Trump’s history of courting violence collides with Waco rally

Mary Trump tries to sabotage Trump’s Waco rally with a campaign to book out venue seats

Monday 27 March 2023 00:30 , Andrew Feinberg

Mary Trump, the clinical psychologist and author who is former president Donald Trump’s niece, has called on Americans to flood her uncle’s campaign website with ticket requests for his 25 March rally in Waco, Texas, so tickets will be allocated to people who won’t show up for the event.

Writing on Twitter, Ms Trump wrote that the Waco location is “a ploy to remind his cult of the infamous Waco siege of 1993, where an anti-government cult battled the FBI”.

The 1993 seige of a Waco compound used by the Branch Davidian religious cult was carried out by US law enforcement between 28 February and 19 April 1993. Seventy-six cult members died on the last day of the siege when a fire broke out as FBI personnel were attempting to force the cult members from the compound with tear gas.

Over the 51 days that began when the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms tried to search the cult’s property, a total of four federal agents and 82 cult members — including 28 children — lost their lives.

Read more:

Mary Trump tries to sabotage Trump’s Waco rally by filling venue with no-shows

Trump fans want DeSantis to step aside to allow former president another White House run

Monday 27 March 2023 00:00 , Josh Marcus

Donald Trump’s kickoff campaign rally in Waco on Saturday featured a gaggle of GOP loyalists from MyPillow CEO Mike Lindell to Georgia Congresswoman Marjorie Taylore Greene.

But one Republican who wasn’t a hot favorite at the sprawling event in the Texas sun? Governor Ron DeSantis of Florida - the former president’s most likely rival in the 2024 Republican primaries.

Many in the crowd told The Independent that Mr Trump still had their support for the top job.

“He’s the only one,” rallygoer David Lee said while dressed in a royal costume he said was in honour of “King Trump.”

Others in Waco were more supportive of Mr DeSantis but said he should wait his turn before taking on Mr Trump.

Read more:

Trump fans want DeSantis to step aside to allow him another White House run

Trump rails against ‘demonic forces’ and pitches 2024 race as ‘the final battle’ at Waco rally

Sunday 26 March 2023 23:30 , Josh Marcus, Richard Hall

Donald Trump railed against “demonic forces” and pitched the 2024 presidential race as “the final battle” at the first rally of his third campaign for the White House in Waco, Texas, on Saturday.

Mr Trump opened the rally by playing a song recorded by a choir of men imprisoned for their involvement in the attack on the US Capitol on January 6, 2021. He then launched into a speech that echoed the same incendiary language he used in the run-up to that day.

“If we don’t win this election in 2024, I truly believe our country is doomed,” he said, hitting out at “demonic forces” who are “destroying the country.”

“Either the Deep State destroys America or we destroy the Deep State,” the former president said.

Read more:

Trump rails against ‘demonic forces’ and calls 2024 ‘the final battle’ at Waco rally

VIDEO: Trump claims tearful DeSantis begged for his endorsement in 2018

Sunday 26 March 2023 23:00 , The Independent

Trump starts Waco rally with song featuring him and January 6 choir

Sunday 26 March 2023 22:30 , Eric Garcia

Former president Donald Trump opened his rally in Waco, Texas by playing a song he collaborated on with a group of inmates who are in prison for their actions in the January 6 riot.

The group of defendants have billed themselves as J6 Choir and they sing a version of “The Star Spangled Banner” with Mr Trump reciting the Pledge of Allegience entitled “Justice for All.” The former president has pledged that if he is re-elected, he will give pardons to defendants.

Mr Trump is holding his first major campaign event since announcing his 2024 campaign in Waco, Texas – a week after he said he expected to be indicted by Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg.

The song earned notoriety when it became the number one song on iTunes. The song is being used to raise money for the defendants through an LLC run by conservative activist Ed Henry.

Read more:

Trump starts Waco rally with song featuring him and January 6 choir

Trump denies having affair with Stormy Daniels repeating insulting nickname at Waco rally

Sunday 26 March 2023 22:00 , Eric Garcia

Former president Donald Trump vehemently denied that he had an affair with adult film star Stormy Daniels as he faces a potential indictment for paying money to keep their affair quiet.

The former president decried New York County District Attorney Alvin Bragg for investigating the payment and criticised the US Department of Justice.

“The district attorney of New York under the auspices and direction of the Department of Injustice in Washington, DC, was investigating me for something that is not a crime, not a misdemeanor, not an affair,” he said.

Mr Trump held his first major campaign rally in Waco, Texas, where he proceeded to insult Ms Daniels with an epithet he has used in the past.

Read more:

Trump denies affair with Stormy Daniels repeating insulting nickname at Waco rally

In Waco, Trump avoids mentioning standoff but praises insurrectionists and calls for war on deep state

Sunday 26 March 2023 21:30 , Josh Marcus

When Donald Trump announced he was heading to Waco, Texas, on Saturday to kick off his 2024 campaign, many feared that the former president’s presence in the city, made infamous in 1993 for a deadly 51-day standoff between armed cult members and federal agents, would be interpreted as a new call to militia-style violence.

“Given what happened on January 6, he’s playing with fire,” professor Matthew Dallek, a political historian of the right and homeland security issues at George Washington University, told The Independent ahead of the event.

When Trump Force One actually touched down in Waco, to a fired-up crowd that had been waiting in the scorching son all day on an airport tarmac to see him, the former president avoided mentioning the standoff itself, but offered scattered warnings of sinister forces, World War III, and an apocalyptic “final battle” that wouldn’t be out of place in a cult hall.

Read more:

In Waco, Trump avoids mentioning siege but invokes apocalyptic WWIII

VIDEO: Trump campaign rally opens with January 6 choir in Waco

Sunday 26 March 2023 21:00 , The Independent

Trump ramps up DeSantis attack at Waco rally saying he wept when he begged for endorsement

Sunday 26 March 2023 20:30 , Eric Garcia

Former president Donald Trump ramped up his criticisms of his potential 2024 challenger Florida Governor Ron DeSantis during his rally in Waco, Texas on Saturday.

Mr Trump used the epithet he has coined for the governor, calling him Ron “DeSanctimonious”. Mr Trump said that in 2018, Mr DeSantis begged the then-president to endorse him in the Republican primary for governor in Florida.

“But I’m a loyalist and and when a man comes to me tears in his eyes, he’s had almost nothing in the polls,” he told rallygoers. Mr Trump noted how at the time, Mr DeSantis registered much lower in the polls than then-agriculture commissioner Adam Putnam, who also had a significant money advantage.

“He’s at almost nothing, He’s got no cash,” Mr Trump said. “And I said, I can’t give you an endorsement. There’s no way you can when you’re dead.”

Read more:

Trump ramps up DeSantis attack in Waco, saying he wept and begged for endorsement

Trump attacks transgender rights at Waco rally saying he will ban ‘disfigurement of our youth’

Sunday 26 March 2023 20:00 , Joe Middleton

Former US president Donald Trump has vowed to crack down on “transgender insanity” and pledged to “revoke every Biden policy promoting the disfigurement of our youth”.

At the first rally of his 2024 presidential campaign on Saturday in Waco, Texas, Trump doubled down on a vow he made last month to revoke his successor’s policies on gender-affirming care for transgender children.

Trump said that he would “keep men out of women’s sports” if re-elected president, after he last year misgendered transgender athlete Lia Thomas.

Read more:

Trump attacks transgender rights and says he will ban ‘disfigurement of our youth’

Trump treats himself after first 2024 rally speech in Waco – with McDonald’s

Sunday 26 March 2023 19:30 , Alisha Rahaman Sarkar

Donald Trump, at the end of a long rally to kick-off his 2024 presidential campaign, treated himself to perhaps his favourite food - McDonald’s.

Boxes of food from the fast-food chain were seen being carried on to Mr Trump’s private plane after the event in Waco, Texas, in pictures shared by the former president’s adviser Jason Miller.

The image showed a box of 20 Chicken McNuggets and a Quarter-Pounder with cheese. “Tasty treats,” Mr Miller wrote.

Mr Trump’s staff was also photographed carring McDonald’s bags onto the plane.

The 45th president bragged about his knowledge of the menu at a McDonald’s outlet during a visit last month to a community impacted by a toxic train derailment in East Palestine, Ohio.

Read more:

Trump treats himself after first 2024 rally speech in Waco – with McDonald’s

On the ground in Waco, the Trump faithful don’t believe he’ll be indicted: ‘It’s complete garbage’

Sunday 26 March 2023 19:00 , Josh Marcus

Investigators might be closing in on Donald Trump – in New York for hush money; Georgia for election meddling; Washington for mishandling classified documents – but the former president shouldn’t be all that worried, according to his loyal supporters who gathered in Waco, Texas, on Saturday for the kickoff of the 2024 Trump campaign.

“I don’t think it’ll stick,” Trump supporter Karey Cottrell told The Independent of the potential charges in New York, which are expected to drop some time next week.

“It’s complete garbage,” she added. “It’s ridiculous. I didn’t think they would stoop this low.”

Queues started to form early on Saturday morning at Waco Regional Airport where field after field was filled with vehicles decked out in Trump flags.

Read more:

On the ground in Waco, the Trump faithful don’t believe he’ll be indicted

Trump fans want DeSantis to step aside to allow former president another White House run

Sunday 26 March 2023 18:31 , John Bowden

Donald Trump’s kickoff campaign rally in Waco on Saturday featured a gaggle of GOP loyalists from MyPillow CEO Mike Lindell to Georgia Congresswoman Marjorie Taylore Greene.

But one Republican who wasn’t a hot favorite at the sprawling event in the Texas sun? Governor Ron DeSantis of Florida - the former president’s most likely rival in the 2024 Republican primaries.

Many in the crowd told The Independent that Mr Trump still had their support for the top job.

“He’s the only one,” rallygoer David Lee said while dressed in a royal costume he said was in honour of “King Trump.”

Others in Waco were more supportive of Mr DeSantis but said he should wait his turn before taking on Mr Trump.

Read more:

Trump fans want DeSantis to step aside to allow him another White House run

Rally attendee suggests ‘50,000 people’ should ‘take over the White House'

Sunday 26 March 2023 18:00 , Josh Marcus and Gustaf Kilander

Rally attendee Will Montford’s family is originally from Mexico, he now lives in Bryan, Texas.

“The problem in America is not one person,” he told The Independent.

He said that Mr Trump is a man of the people.

“He’s not fake. He’s one of us, but he’s a billionaire,” he said, adding that he “is a real human being. At least he makes me feel that way”.

“If people really loved this country, 50,000 people would go take over the White House and say no more of this,” he said.

Mike Lindell says DeSantis should ‘endorse Donald Trump tomorrow morning'

Sunday 26 March 2023 17:30 , Gustaf Kilander

MyPillow CEO and election conspiracy theorist Mike Lindell called Ron DeSantis a “trojan horse” and claimed that “the best thing he could do is endorse Donald Trump tomorrow morning”.

Ted Nugent blasts Afghanistan withdrawal

Sunday 26 March 2023 17:00 , Gustaf Kilander

Ted Nugent slammed the botched withdrawal of US troops from Afghanistan, saying, “I didn’t authorize giving our military hardware to the Taliban, I want my money back”.

Trump soundtrack sends militant message

Sunday 26 March 2023 16:30 , Josh Marcus

If there was any mistaking the militant message in Trump world, consider the soundtrack: the former president began his remarks with a version of the national anthem, sung by people imprisoned for participation in the January 6 insurrection at the US Capitol.

Between these statements, Mr Trump railed against the prosecutors in Florida, Georgia, and Washington considering unprecedented criminal charges against the former president, calling them “the Department of Injustice and their local henchmen.”

“The new weapon being used by out of control, unhinged Democrats to cheat in elections is to criminally investigate a candidate, bad publicity and all,” Mr Trump said. “I’ve got bad publicity but my poll numbers have gone through the roof.”

‘We’re at a very pivotal point in our country,’ Trump says

Sunday 26 March 2023 16:00 , Josh Marcus

“Either we surrender to the demonic forces abolishing and demolishing – and happily doing so – our country, or we defeat them in a landslide on November 5, 2024,” Mr Trump told the crowd on Saturday.

“Either the deep state destroys America, or we destroy the deep state,” he added. “We’re at a very pivotal point in our country.”

Before Mr Trump took the stage, conservative rocker Ted Nugent delivered a guitar solo version of the “Star Spangled Banner,” but not before asking the crowd for January 6-inspired “moment of silence for the political prisoners in the gulags of Washington, DC, because of jackbooted thugs in our own government.”

‘Why do you think they’re trying to stop him?’: Rally attendee says Trump is ‘only’ candidate

Sunday 26 March 2023 15:30 , Josh Marcus and Gustaf Kilander

Rally attendee David Lee wore a king outfit to the rally, calling Mr Trump the “MAGA king” when speaking to The Independent.

He said he’s from South Vietnam, a country that no longer exists following the reunification of Vietnam in 1976.

He slammed diversity, equity, and inclusion, such as gender inclusivity, as an attempt to “brainwash the children”.

Mr Lee said Mr Trump is “the only” candidate. “Why do you think they’re trying to stop him?”

When asked about Mr Trump’s legal woes, Mr Lee said “they’re so scared”.

Trump says DeSantis came ‘to me with tears in his eyes, he had almost nothing in the polls’

Sunday 26 March 2023 15:00 , Josh Marcus, Richard Hall

Mr Trump attacked rivals in his own party —including potential primary challenger Ron DeSantis and Senate GOP leader Mitch McConnell.

Mr Trump used the epithet he has coined for the Florida governor, calling Ron “DeSanctimonious.” Mr Trump said that in 2018, Mr DeSantis begged the then-president to endorse him in the Republican primary for governor in Florida.

“But I’m a loyalist and when a man comes to me with tears in his eyes, he’s had almost nothing in the polls,” he told rallygoers. Mr Trump noted how at the time, Mr DeSantis registered much lower in the polls than then-agriculture commissioner Adam Putnam, who also had a significant money advantage.

“He’s at almost nothing, he’s got no cash,” Mr Trump said.

Mr DeSantis has yet to announce whether he will challenge Mr Trump. But many conservative activists have rallied behind him after he won re-election last year by almost 20 points.

Among the crowd, Mr Trump’s supporters were less than enthused about Mr DeSantis potentially challenging their candidate.

“DeSantis is great, but I think he needs to let Trump do four more years,” Tammy Pavelka of Waco told The Independent. “He’ll take over the next eight.”

From the stage, MyPillow CEO Mike Lindell went further, going directly after the Florida Republican and calling him “Trojan horse Ron DeSantis.”

“The best thing he can do is endorse Donald Trump tomorrow morning,” Mr Lindell told the crowd, to applause.

In Waco, Trump avoids mentioning standoff but praises insurrectionists and calls for war on deep state

Sunday 26 March 2023 14:30 , Josh Marcus

When Donald Trump announced he was heading to Waco, Texas, on Saturday to kick off his 2024 campaign, many feared that the former president’s presence in the city, made infamous in 1993 for a deadly 51-day standoff between armed cult members and federal agents, would be interpreted as a new call to militia-style violence.

“Given what happened on January 6, he’s playing with fire,” professor Matthew Dallek, a political historian of the right and homeland security issues at George Washington University, told The Independent ahead of the event.

When Trump Force One actually touched down in Waco, to a fired-up crowd that had been waiting in the scorching son all day on an airport tarmac to see him, the former president avoided mentioning the standoff itself, but offered scattered warnings of sinister forces, World War III, and an apocalyptic “final battle” that wouldn’t be out of place in a cult hall.

Read more:

In Waco, Trump avoids mentioning siege but invokes apocalyptic WWIII

Rally held on 30th anniversary of standoff between federal agents and religious sect

Sunday 26 March 2023 14:00 , Josh Marcus and Richard Hall

Queues started to form early on Saturday morning at Waco Regional Airport where field after field was filled with vehicles decked out in Trump flags.

Mr Trump held the rally in the city of Waco on the 30th anniversary of a militarised standoff between federal agents and the Branch Davidian religious sect in nearby Elk, Texas claimed the lives of more than 80 people.

The event partly inspired Oklahoma City bomber Timothy McVeigh to attack two years later, and for those on the militant fringe of American life, Waco came to serve as a symbol of violent government overreach or the beginning of the end times.

‘They’re flooding your towns with deadly drugs selling your jobs to China’

Sunday 26 March 2023 13:00 , Josh Marcus and Richard Hall

Mr Trump said on Saturday that “they’re flooding your towns with deadly drugs selling your jobs to China, mutilating your children … setting fire to your life savings, releasing violent criminals to prey on innocent people”.

“I am your warrior. I am your justice. And I took a lot of heat for this one, but I only meant it in the proper way — to those who have been wronged and betrayed, of which there are many people out there, I will be your retribution,” he added.

Mr Trump, who is facing a potential indictment for the payment of hush money to an adult film actress with whom he allegedly had an affair, and is also under investigation for election meddling and mishandling of documents, took aim at the various law enforcement agencies investigating him, describing them as “something straight out of the Stalinist Russia horror show.”

“This is really prosecutorial misconduct, that’s what it’s called. The innocence of people makes no difference whatsoever to these radical left maniacs,” Mr Trump said.

“The thugs and criminals who are corrupting our justice system will be defeated, discredited and totally disgraced,” he added.

‘Trojan horse’: Mike Lindell says he can’t say ‘enough horrible things’ about Ron DeSantis

Sunday 26 March 2023 12:00 , Gustaf Kilander

Election conspiracy theorist and MyPillow CEO Mike Lindell appeared on the Right Side Broadcasting Network ahead of Mr Trump’s rally in Waco, Texas on Saturday.

“Ron DeSantis, the Trojan horse. I mean, I can’t say enough horrible things about the guy and I don’t care. I put it out there,” he said.

Mike Lindell at the Trump rally in Waco, Texas (Screenshot / RSBN)
Mike Lindell at the Trump rally in Waco, Texas (Screenshot / RSBN)

Trump supporters believe investigations into ex-president will flame out

Sunday 26 March 2023 11:00 , Josh Marcus

The MAGA faithful say that the multiple legal probes against Mr Trump - who has survived two impeachments, a special counsel investigation, and numerous lawsuits and probes throughout his life - will flame out.

“For almost eight years, that’s what they’ve been doing,” rallygoer Tammy Pavelka told The Independent. “He’s draining the swamp, so they’re after him.”

Mention of Mr Bragg, the New York prosecutor, was particularly unpopular at the rally.

“Bragg, he’s just looking for popularity,” Ms Pavelka said.

Another man was seen holding an “Arrest Alvin Bragg” t-shirt.

Man holds an ‘arrest Alvin Bragg’ t-shirt at the Trump rally in Waco, Texas (Josh Marcus)
Man holds an ‘arrest Alvin Bragg’ t-shirt at the Trump rally in Waco, Texas (Josh Marcus)

Trump rails against ‘demonic forces’ and pitches 2024 race as ‘the final battle’ at Waco rally

Sunday 26 March 2023 10:00 , Josh Marcus, Richard Hall

Donald Trump railed against “demonic forces” and pitched the 2024 presidential race as “the final battle” at the first rally of his third campaign for the White House in Waco, Texas, on Saturday.

Mr Trump opened the rally by playing a song recorded by a choir of men imprisoned for their involvement in the attack on the US Capitol on January 6, 2021. He then launched into a speech that echoed the same incendiary language he used in the run-up to that day.

“If we don’t win this election in 2024, I truly believe our country is doomed,” he said, hitting out at “demonic forces” who are “destroying the country.”

“Either the Deep State destroys America or we destroy the Deep State,” the former president said.

Read more:

Trump rails against ‘demonic forces’ and calls 2024 ‘the final battle’ at Waco rally

Marjorie Taylor Greene pushes often-made claim that Alvin Bragg is linked to George Soros

Sunday 26 March 2023 09:00 , Gustaf Kilander

The Right Side Broadcasting Network advertised a “free Trump knife” ahead of the rally in Waco, Texas.

Marjorie Taylor Greene repeated a claim often made by conservatives about Manhattan DA Alvin Bragg.

“Here we have Alvin Bragg, on the verge of breaking the law, as he’s trying to please his Master, George Soros,” she said on RSBN.

Mr Trump pushed the same idea in a post on Truth Social on Wednesday.

“How can a highly controversial, George Soros backed District Attorney, Alvin Bragg, who presides over one of the most crime ridden, violent, and dangerous Cities in the U.S., with no retribution toward these heinous criminals, bring charges against the 45th, and quite possibly the 47th, President of the United States, who received more votes than any sitting President in history, over 75,000,000, and who is currently leading all candidates, by a lot, when there is NO CRIME OF ANY KIND???” Mr Trump wrote.

But the connection between Mr Bragg and Mr Soros is far from as close as Republicans would like it to appear.

The racial justice group Color of Change, to which Mr Soros donated $1m in 2021, works to influence government and corporate policy across the US.

The Open Society Policy Center, which is funded by Mr Soros, sent $7m to the group’s 501(c)(4) branch that same year.

But none of those funds was earmarked for the Bragg campaign or connected to attempts to influence him, CNBC notes.

A spokesperson for Mr Soros told CNBC that he “has never met or spoken to Alvin Bragg”.

Democrats and experts have often argued that the attacks on Mr Soros, who is Jewish, are anti-Semitic.

The president of Color of Change, Rashad Robinson, tweeted on 19 March: “Make no mistake, over the next couple of days as more news about potential consequences for Trump circulates, we will see a flood of anti-Black and anti-Semitic attacks from the former President and his supporters and enablers.”

“They will attack those of us fighting to end mass incarceration, working to hold police accountable & pushing to the day when the rich and powerful don’t live by a different set of rules. They will attack those of us doing the work like @ColorOfChange n allies & those funding it,” he added.

On the ground in Waco, the Trump faithful don’t believe he’ll be indicted: ‘It’s complete garbage’

Sunday 26 March 2023 08:00 , Josh Marcus

On the ground in Waco, the Trump faithful don’t believe he’ll be indicted: ‘It’s complete garbage’

Investigators might be closing in on Donald Trump – in New York for hush money; Georgia for election meddling; Washington for mishandling classified documents – but the former president shouldn’t be all that worried, according to his loyal supporters who gathered in Waco, Texas, on Saturday for the kickoff of the 2024 Trump campaign.

“I don’t think it’ll stick,” Trump supporter Karey Cottrell told The Independent of the potential charges in New York, which are expected to drop some time next week.

“It’s complete garbage,” she added. “It’s ridiculous. I didn’t think they would stoop this low.”

Queues started to form early on Saturday morning at Waco Regional Airport where field after field was filled with vehicles decked out in Trump flags.

Read more:

On the ground in Waco, the Trump faithful don’t believe he’ll be indicted

Right wing broadcaster says Ted Nugent diatribe 'is channeling what a lot of Americans feel’

Sunday 26 March 2023 07:00 , Gustaf Kilander

Ed Henry said on Real America’s Voice that during his rally speech in Waco, Texas on Saturday, Ted Nugent was “channelling what a lot of Americans feel”.

Matt Gaetz argues GOP remains in Trump’s control

Sunday 26 March 2023 06:00 , Gustaf Kilander

Florida Representative Matt Gaetz argued on Saturday afternoon that the Republican Party is still being controlled by Mr Trump.

“They want to return to the old ways of the Romneys and the McConnells. Well, guess what? This is Donald Trump’s party and I’m a Donald Trump Republican,” he said.

Matt Gaetz calls on Ted Cruz and Ron DeSantis

Sunday 26 March 2023 05:00 , Gustaf Kilander

Florida Representative called on Texas Senator Ted Cruz and Florida Governor Ron DeSantis to endorse Donald Trump.

“Ron DeSantis and Ted Cruz should endorse Donald Trump today! We need the best and brightest minds unified under the Trump banner,” he told Real America’s Voice.

‘DeSantis is great, but I think he needs to let Trump do four more years'

Sunday 26 March 2023 04:30 , Josh Marcus

Trump supporters think Florida Governor Ron DeSantis should step aside and let the former president lead the party again in 2024.

“DeSantis is great, but I think he needs to let Trump do four more years,” Tammy Pavelka of Waco told The Independent. “He’ll take over the next eight.”

From the stage, MyPillow CEO Mike Lindell went further, going directly after the Florida Republican and calling him “Trojan horse Ron DeSantis.”

“The best thing he can do is endorse Donald Trump tomorrow morning,” Mr Lindell told the crowd, to applause.

For its part, the Trump campaign has no love lost for its former ally DeSantis. In recent weeks, Mr Trump has repeatedly attacked Mr DeSantis online.

The Trump campaign recently said working with Mr DeSantis, potentially as a vice president, is a “very unlikely alliance.”

“I’ve never even thought of it,” Mr Trump said earlier this week.

Trump supporters say hush money payments don’t matter

Sunday 26 March 2023 04:00 , Josh Marcus

For some Trump supporters, even if Mr Trump did make the hush money payments under investigation by the Manhattan DA, it doesn’t really matter.

Rusty Lee, who works in the oil and gas industry near the Louisiana border, attended the rally decked out in a full American-flag print suit and oversized Trump mask, which was leading to a lot of requests for selfies.

He’s been to five or six other Trump rallies and said that if he was a billionaire facing allegations of an affair, he would pay hundreds of thousands of dollars to make that go away, too.

“It doesn’t bother me,” he said. “I didn’t hire this man as a moral leader. I have a pastor for that.”

Plus, Mr Lee added, Mr Trump, like every other president before him, has managed to make it this far without facing criminal charges.

“That’s JV [Junior Varsity] stuff man,” he said, making an amateur sports reference. “He’s gone through a lot worse than that...Trump’s clean. If he wasn’t, he’s spent so many years in the spotlight, and something comes out now. Come on.”

Mike Lindell says ‘evil’ exposed itself during 2020 election

Sunday 26 March 2023 03:30 , Gustaf Kilander

MyPillow CEO and election conspiracy theorist Mike Lindell told the crowd at the Waco rally that “evil” exposed itself during the 2020 election.

“The 2020 election will go down as one of the most important elections in history because of evil exposing itself,” he said.

Trump supporter claims investigations into ex-president are linked to QAnon conspiracy theory

Sunday 26 March 2023 03:00 , Josh Marcus

Some Trump supporters believe that the investigations are part of a wider plot against the former president.

Attendee Shelley Harrison, of Dallas, said that officials are targeting Mr Trump because he helped expose the “child trafficking issue,” – a QAnon conspiracy theory which purports that Democrat and media elites are responsible for child trafficking.

“He knows too much,” she said. “He’s exposing the truth. They don’t want people to believe him.”

Trump fans want DeSantis to step aside to allow former president another White House run

Sunday 26 March 2023 02:30 , Josh Marcus

Donald Trump’s kickoff campaign rally in Waco on Saturday featured a gaggle of GOP loyalists from MyPillow CEO Mike Lindell to Georgia Congresswoman Marjorie Taylore Greene.

But one Republican who wasn’t a hot favorite at the sprawling event in the Texas sun? Governor Ron DeSantis of Florida - the former president’s most likely rival in the 2024 Republican primaries.

Many in the crowd told The Independent that Mr Trump still had their support for the top job.

“He’s the only one,” rallygoer David Lee said while dressed in a royal costume he said was in honour of “King Trump.”

Others in Waco were more supportive of Mr DeSantis but said he should wait his turn before taking on Mr Trump.

Read more:

Trump fans want DeSantis to step aside to allow him another White House run

‘I wanna see Trump riff. He’s so funny, he’s like a comedian'

Sunday 26 March 2023 02:00 , Josh Marcus and Gustaf Kilander

Dave, a rally attendee from the Austin area, told The Independent that he had come to see Mr Trump speak for his sense of humour.

“I wanna see Trump riff. He’s so funny, he’s like a comedian,” he said.

“He speaks from the heart. He’s off the cuff,” he added.

He went on to praise Mr Trump for having “crushed ISIS”.

Regarding gender issues, he asked, “is this what we should be basing our decisions on, not merit?”

“There’s no place for that in a kid’s class. Let parents tell their kids about that,” he added.

He said he was a fan of Florida Governor Ron DeSantis.

“I love it. I’m a big DeSantis guy ... smart people are calling on Donald Trump to get smart on certain things ... like some of the gender stuff,” he said.

Rally attendee suggests border be given ‘a breather for a while'

Sunday 26 March 2023 00:30 , Josh Marcus and Gustaf Kilander

Mike Landis, a rally attendee from Whitney, Texas spoke to The Independent about the situation at the southern border.

“No borders, no country,” he said. “Close it up. Shut it down. Give it a breather for a while.”

About Mr Trump’s legal woes and possible upcoming indictment, he added: “It’s all BS.”

“It’s not a big deal,” he added. “They’re trying to get him out. They know they can’t beat him with ballots.”

Trump claims ‘nobody laughed’ at US when he was president

Sunday 26 March 2023 00:28 , Gustaf Kilander

Trump says ‘we need babies’ and promises return to Western classical architecture

Sunday 26 March 2023 00:24 , Gustaf Kilander

Trump claims to have talked to Putin about Ukraine

Sunday 26 March 2023 00:21 , Gustaf Kilander

Mr Trump claimed on Saturday night that “before I even arrive at the Oval Office shortly after I win the presidency, I will have the disastrous war between Russia and Ukraine settled. It would never have happened”.

“I used to talk to Putin, I get along well with Putin. I used to talk to Putin about it,” he said.

“They started putting soldiers on the border but even he didn't want to do it. He wanted to get a piece,” Mr Trump said.

“Now it looks like he'll end up probably getting the whole thing,” he added.

“You saw it the other day with President Xi, smart, top of his game, President Putin – smart, very smart people standing there talking about the world order for the next 100 years,” he said.

“I'm proud to be the only president in decades who did not start a new war,” he claimed.

“It's no coincidence that the deep state is coming after me even harder, since I pledged to swiftly end the war in Ukraine,” Mr Trump said.

“I'm gonna get a settlement very quickly, and I know both people and you can get it very, very quickly. You can only do it through the presidency ... I will have that settlement done within 24 hours,” he added.

The ex-president went on to say that “standing before you today, I am the only candidate who can make this promise – I will prevent world war three, which we're heading into”.

“This will be a war like no other. Not only is Biden courting nuclear holocaust, he's blowing up the US economy with the Biden banking crisis – a disaster of historic proportions,” he said.

Trump goes after Michael Cohen and Manhattan DA

Sunday 26 March 2023 00:10 , Gustaf Kilander

Mr Trump bashed the Manhattan DA, saying “they took the word of a proven liar, a convicted felon, and a disbarred lawyer. All the same person” in reference to his former fixer Michael Cohen.

Lt Gov Patrick says Trump ‘wouldn’t have put up' with ‘drag queen shows with children attending’

Sunday 26 March 2023 00:00 , Gustaf Kilander

Texas Lieutenant Governor Dan Patrick claimed that when “Trump was President there was no DEI (Diversity, equity, and inclusion) or ESG (Environmental, Social, and Governance) or Drag Queen shows with children attending. He wouldn’t have put up with that for one moment”.

Corporations spent as much as $8bn a year on diversity starting in 2003, according to The Cut.

The term Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) was initially used in 2004 in a report entitled Who Cares Wins.

Drag Queen Story Hour is a project that has been going on since 2015, according to NBC News.

Mr Trump became president in January 2017.

‘Either the deep state destroys America, or we destroy the deep state'

Saturday 25 March 2023 23:57 , Gustaf Kilander

Mr Trump made ominous soundings at his rally in Waco, Texas on Saturday.

“Either the deep state destroys America, or we destroy the deep state. We’re at a very pivotal point in our country,” he said.

“I only mean it in the proper way, for those who have been wronged and betrayed – there are many people out there who have been wronged and betrayed – I am your retribution,” he added.

Trump says DeSantis is not doing well ‘with anything'

Saturday 25 March 2023 23:54 , Gustaf Kilander

Mr Trump bashed Florida Governor Ron DeSantis on Saturday night in Waco, Texas.

“They keep saying I think DeSantis could do well with farmers, I don’t think so. Based on polls, he’s not doing okay with anything. It’s not good when you look at statistically how he did on Covid. Not good at all. Look at how does on crime. Not good,” he said.

Trump says DeSantis ‘became like a rocket ship’ after his endorsement

Saturday 25 March 2023 23:40 , Josh Marcus and Gustaf Kilander

Mr Trump went after Florida Governor Ron DeSantis, his top rival in the 2024 race.

The former president said Mr DeSantis came to him when he was running for governor in 2018.

At his rally on Saturday night in Waco, Texas, Mr Trump claimed that Mr DeSantis had “tears in his eyes” back in 2018.

“You can’t win, can you?” Mr Trump recalled asking Mr DeSantis.

“Please, sir, endorse me,” Mr DeSantis said, according to Mr Trump. “I said alright, let’s give it a shot.”

“I said let’s give a shot Ron. I endorsed him. He became like a rocket ship. Within one day the race was over,” he claimed.

Texas Lt Gov Patrick said Trump made Americans ‘fear’ the US military

Saturday 25 March 2023 23:30 , Gustaf Kilander

Texas Lieutenant Governor Dan Patrick said, “President Trump made America respect our military, fear our military because he said ‘you come after my men and women – I’m coming after you’”.

Trump pushed 2020 election lie

Saturday 25 March 2023 23:25 , Gustaf Kilander

Mr Trump once again pushed the lie that the 2020 election was stolen.

“The Supreme Court didn’t have the courage to right the wrong of the 2020 election,” he said at the rally in Waco, Texas on Saturday night.

“We won in 2016. We won by much more in 2020 but it was rigged,” he added.

Trump starts Waco rally with song featuring him and January 6 choir

Saturday 25 March 2023 23:22 , Eric Garcia

Former president Donald Trump opened his rally in Waco, Texas by playing a song he did with a group of inmates who are in prison for their actions in the January 6 riot.

The group of defendants have billed themselves as J6 Choir and they sing a version of “The Star Spangled Banner” with Mr Trump reciting the Pledge of Allegience entitled “Justice for All.” The former president has pledged that if he is re-elected, he will give pardons to defendants.

Mr Trump is holding his first major campaign event in Texas since announcing his 2024 campaign in Waco a week after he said he expected to be indicted by Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg.

The song earned notoriety when it became the number one song on iTunes. The song is being used to raise money for the defendants through an LLC run by conservative activist Ed Henry.

Read more:

Trump starts Waco rally with song featuring him and January 6 choir

Trump claims to be ‘most innocent man in the history of our country'

Saturday 25 March 2023 23:21 , Gustaf Kilander

Mr Trump claimed that he was “the most innocent man in the history of our country” during the rally in Waco, Texas.

Trump addresses hush money payment to Stormy Daniels

Saturday 25 March 2023 23:17 , Gustaf Kilander

Mr Trump addressed the hush money payment to adult film actor Stormy Daniels.

He said it was “not a crime. Not an affair. I never liked horse face. Terrible. That would not be the one. There is no one we have a great First Lady”.

VIDEO: Trump plays song featuring ‘J6 choir'

Saturday 25 March 2023 23:08 , Gustaf Kilander

“That song tells you a lot because it’s number one in every single category – number two was Taylor Swift,” Mr Trump said. “Number three was Miley Cyrus. So we have our moment and that tells you that our people love those people.”

Trump says ‘2024 is the final battle'

Saturday 25 March 2023 23:06 , Gustaf Kilander

Mr Trump said on Saturday night that “our opponents have done everything they can to crush your spirit and to break our will. But they failed. They've only made it stronger”.

“And 2024 is the final battle, that's going to be the big one,” he added. “If you put me back in the White House, their reign will be over and America will be a free nation once again.”

“Our enemies are desperate to stop us because they know that we are the only ones who can stop them. They know that you know there's never been a movement like this in the history of our country probably in the history of almost every country,” he said.

Texas Lt Gov Dan Patrick says he chose rally site

Saturday 25 March 2023 23:00 , Gustaf Kilander

The Texas Lieutenant Governor Dan Patrick took to the rally stage in Waco on Saturday saying that “you see all these stories that the president chose this town because of [the] anniversary of an event that happened 30 years ago. Well let me tell you, that is pure bulls*** fake news. I picked Waco!”