The former president’s first campaign rally of the 2024 presidential election cycle was nothing short of Trumpian: he stepped onto the stage as his collaborative song with convicted January 6 rioters, “Justice for All” blared, offered enthusiastic support for a Senate run from Georgia Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene, repeated familiar lies and incendiary rhetoric, and made digs at the ongoing investigations of which he is the target.
“You will be vindicated and proud,” Donald Trump said at Saturday’s rally in Waco, Texas. “The thugs and criminals who are corrupting our justice system will be defeated, discredited and totally disgraced.”
He added that “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 continued, “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 specifically pointed to the ongoing investigation by Manhattan DA Alvin Bragg. Trump said Bragg is investigating “for something that is not a crime, not a misdemeanor, not an affair.” Bragg is looking into the hush-money payment to porn star Stormy Daniels and how it was recorded. A grand jury is expected to reconvene next week.
According to Newsweek, a number of Trump supporters said they wanted to “arrest Alvin Bragg.” Bragg has repeatedly been a target. He received a death threat with suspicious powder on Friday, which came shortly after Trump wrote provocative Truth Social posts, warning of “death and destruction” if he gets indicted and calling to “protest, take our nation back” if he gets arrested.
Taking a break from bashing his so-called political “enemies,” Trump took time to praise one particular loyalist: Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene. The MAGA Republican is reportedly “angling” to be Trump’s running mate on the 2024 ticket. On Saturday, Trump didn’t make it clearer if she would eventually earn the spot as potential VP, but he did have another position in mind. “Would you like to run for the Senate?” Trump asked the Georgia Republican. “I would fight like hell for you.”
“People do not realize how brilliant she is,” the former president said. “She is just a badass.”
Trump also spewed a few familiar falsehoods. He is still hanging onto the lie that the election was stolen, saying, “We won in 2016. We won by much more in 2020 but it was rigged,” he said. Later adding, “It’s a rigged system. Like we had a rigged election.”
He also boasted about how he built the wall—which is still unfinished. “I built hundreds of miles of wall and completed that task, totally as promised,” he said. According to a Customs and Border Patrol report from January 2021, shortly before Trump left office, roughly 280 miles of wall had been funded but had not yet been built.
Trump is the subject of numerous ongoing investigations. On top of the Manhattan investigation, Trump is also facing a probe in Georgia into his efforts to overturn the 2020 election and a federal investigation into his election result reversal efforts. In a ruling on Friday, a federal judge rejected Trump’s argument that his former officials were covered by executive privilege, meaning former aides, including ex-chief of staff Mark Meadows, would have to testify before a grand jury.
In yet another federal investigation, this one into the potential mishandling of classified documents found at Mar-a-Lago, the same federal judge ruled last week that Trump’s lawyer, Evan Corcoran, would have to testify, due to the crime-fraud exception.
On “Meet the Press” on Sunday, Trump’s lawyer Joseph Tacopina claimed, “Never in the Manhattan district attorney’s office has someone been charged with a crime for falsifying business records to pay hush money…regarding a personal matter.” He added, “If he had used campaign funds, we’d have an argument here. This is a personal matter.”
“But they called it legal fees,” host Chuck Todd argued. Tacopina eventually asked, “What was [Trump] supposed to put in his personal ledger? ‘Payment for hush money to quiet an affair I claim I never had so my family doesn’t get embarrassed’?” After a bit of back and forth, Chuck said: “How about the truth?”