At a rally in Waco, Texas a month short of the 30th anniversary of the infamous FBI – ATF raid on the Branch Davidian compound that resulted in the fiery deaths of 76 Branch Davidians,
including 26 children, two pregnant women, and leader David Koresh, former President Donald Trump spoke at his first rally of 2023.
While Democrats and the Leftwing media tried to make the rally location all about the infamous assault of the Branch Davidians the BBC reported Texas Lieutenant Governor Dan Patrick told the crowd that such connections were an expletive and "fake news".
"I picked Waco," he said. "The president called me several weeks ago and said: 'I'm coming to Texas. I want you to pick a great town.'
The rally and its production were, as the BBC put it, all about "God, guns and Trump," and it did not disappoint the thousands of Trump supporters who stood in line for hours in the Texas sun at the Waco airport.
The president's plane arrived early evening in the kind of dramatic airfield landing he made a signature of his campaigns in 2016 and 2020. The new "Trump Force One" circled the airfield as the song Danger Zone, made popular by the film Top Gun, blared on the loudspeakers. Meanwhile, a speed-artist painted a fierce portrait of the former president on the stage to the delight and applause of the 15,000 rally attendees.
Rock star Ted Nugent played what was billed as a "fire-breathing" rendition of the US national anthem on his electric guitar, interrupted by an obscenity-laced diatribe that included attacks on the "jack-booted thugs" in the federal government who he said have been wrongfully imprisoning Trump supporters who rallied the US Capitol on January 6, 2021.
Congressman Matt Gaetz of Florida and Congresswoman Marjorie Taylor Greene of Georgia were warm-up speakers, making pointed attacks on Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg, who will decide in the days ahead whether to indict former President Trump.
"This attack is an egregious weaponization of our justice system designed to influence the 2024 presidential race," Greene said. "This is nothing but a witch hunt against President Trump, and he is completely innocent."
While Lt. Governor Dan Patrick dismissed the connection with the bloody FBI – ATF raid, the symbolism was embraced by many at the rally. The siege and raid on the Branch Davidians were incidents that helped fuel the anti-government movement in the U.S., and the NRA’s Wayne LaPierre may have been the first to describe federal agents as "jack-booted thugs" and their conduct since has done nothing to neutralize that characterization.
This unspoken, but powerfully communicated symbolic message is one of the most important elements of Trump’s almost mystical hold on the “only Trump” segment of the American electorate.
George H.W. Bush resigned his membership in the NRA in response to Wayne LaPierre’s “jack booted thugs” comments and most other Republicans would have never considered doing a rally at Waco near the anniversary of the siege and assault on the Branch Davidians – but Trump did, and the “I love my country, but fear my government” movement has embraced him for it.
And make no mistake about it, the “I love my country, but fear my government” movement is not a few followers of a fringe preacher.
Since the FBI – ATF assault on the Branch Davidian’s compound and the previous year’s Ruby Ridge siege in Boundary County, Idaho that wounded Randy Weaver and Kevin Harris and killed Weaver's 14-year-old son, Sammy and his wife Vicki, millions of Americans have needed no further convincing that their government was no longer constrained by the limits set forth in the Constitution. *
And Donald Trump, first in his 2016 campaign, where without even saying the words “Ruby Ridge” or “Waco” let these constitutionalist patriots know he was in agreement with their critique of what has become a post-constitutional government, and then by his persecution at its hands, has locked-up their support.
No one can say for sure how many American voters subscribe to the view that they love their country but fear their government, but it certainly numbers in the millions. Establishment Republicans see the constitutionalist patriot movement as icky and scary yahoos who, as one DC establishment Republican told me, are not “clubable.” However, they are the shock troops of the MAGA Movement and no other candidate for President, not Ron DeSantis, not Nikki Haley, not any other Republican and certainly no Democrat is going to be able to peel these constitutionalist patriots away from Trump.
*In 1997, E Michael Kahoe, who had helped supervise the FBI’s response at Ruby Ridge, was sentenced to 18 months in a federal prison for burying documents critical of the agency’s approach to the siege ahead of the prosecution of Weaver and Harris. This pattern will look familiar to those following the Russiagate, Whitmer “fednapping” and January 6 cases, however, the FBI is now so free from constitutional constraints that no FBI personnel have been prosecuted or otherwise held accountable for their anti-constitutional conduct.
Trump Rally Waco
FBI ATF Waco Raid
Texas Lieutenant Governor Dan Patrick
God, guns and Trump
Congressman Matt Gaetz
Congresswoman Marjorie Taylor Greene
Only Trump voters
I love my country, but fear my government