On Saturday former President Donald J. Trump kicked off his 2024 presidential campaign with a fascist rally in Waco, Texas, that was focused, more so than usual, on the alleged political persecution of Trump and of his January 6 fascist foot soldiers.
The heavily promoted rally featured dozens of current and former Republican politicians, including Republican Reps. Matt Gaetz (Florida) and Marjorie Taylor Greene (Georgia). In both of their short speeches, Gaetz and Greene affirmed their loyalty to Trump and his fascistic militia and QAnon followers.
Gaetz attacked Trump’s Republican rivals, while Greene, fresh off her latest visit to the D.C. jail, characterized the fascists imprisoned for participating in Trump’s coup of January 6, 2021, as the “true political prisoners,” while “Antifa and BLM terrorists” were still free.
Previewing Trump’s speech, Greene said the most “terrifying” aspect of the “two-tiered justice system” in the United States was the “Democrats weaponizing the Justice Department against Trump.”
Unofficial estimates claim the number of attendees at the event, waving signs that read “Witch Hunt” and “Trump 2024,” was 15,000. However, as with every Trump rally, within 30 minutes of Trump beginning his stale, violent and grievance-filled right-wing rantings, streams of people began to leave the venue, leaving only a small crowd of a few thousand by the time the event ended.
By holding the rally less than a month before the 30th anniversary of the “Waco Massacre,” Trump was attempting to draw a connection between the federal siege of the Branch Davidian compound, which ended with the death of nearly 80 people including 25 children, and the mostly lenient sentences imposed on a few hundred Trump supporters charged for their actions on January 6, 2021.
In a first, Saturday’s rally began with the insurrectionist anthem “Justice for All.”
The song features the “January 6 choir”—violent Trump foot soldiers currently jailed for participating in the failed coup—singing the “Star-Spangled Banner,” and the architect of the coup, Trump, reciting the Pledge of Allegiance.
As the fascist song played, Trump stoically looked up at the large display screens which ran footage of police being assaulted at the Capitol on January 6, interspersed with stock footage of prisoners in orange jumpsuits.
In the first of an entire speech of lies, Trump claimed that the song was “number one in the country” and “that tells you that our people, love those people,” referring to the Oath Keepers, Proud Boys and other violent defendants currently incarcerated.
A recent report by JustSecurity.org based on a March 13, 2023, Washington D.C. Department of Corrections’ official list found that there are currently 20 January 6 inmates housed in the D.C. jail. Of them, 17 are accused of violently assaulting police. Of the remaining three, “which include a Proud Boys member and an Oath Keepers member,” according to JustSecurity, “all have been charged with committing other serious crimes … and one of them has already been convicted.”
Despite this, and the fact that Trump himself, the architect of the coup, has yet to be charged for plotting and inciting the violent attack on Congress, the aspiring dictator claimed multiple times throughout the rally that the “Biden regime’s weaponization of law enforcement” and the “political persecution” of Trump were the “central issue of our time.”
“The weaponization of our justice system is not as some have called, a political spectacle,” Trump grunted. “This is the central issue of our time. I think it is one of the biggest issues…”
In other words, establishing the personal immunity of Trump and his family from prosecution from anything is the “central issue” of the election, not inflation, inequality, war, poverty, climate change or the unending pandemic.
Trump spent much of the rally focused on the possible, but not at all certain, indictment from Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg over alleged payments to adult film actress Stormy Daniels prior to the 2016 election, a prosecution which is an easy target because it is obviously an attempt to leverage a sex scandal into a criminal case.
But there is no question Trump had in mind several other potential indictments related to the failed coup from Justice Department special counsel Jack Smith, and Fulton County (Atlanta) District Attorney Fanni Willis. These are far more worrisome to the would-be dictator, because they expose different aspects of the coup attempt.
As he does in every speech, Trump hailed the Border Patrol Gestapo and incited fascistic violence against immigrants. Trump claimed that if he were elected president he would embark on the “largest domestic deportation operation” in the history of the United States.
It is extremely significant that Trump kicked off his 2024 campaign embracing the fascistic terrorists who stormed the Capitol on his behalf in Waco, Texas, 30 years after the “Waco Massacre.”
For decades, far-right Republicans have used the Waco Massacre as a cudgel to advance their own attacks against the working class and a right-wing agenda within the Department of Justice. By holding his campaign rally in Waco, and beginning with an embrace of the January 6 militia elements, Trump is attempting to draw a connection between the Branch Davidians who were murdered by the US government, and his own foot soldiers, who unlike the cultists and children in Waco in 1993 were trying to overthrow the government and keep Trump in the White House as an authoritarian ruler.
The 1993 siege ended with an April 19 assault by federal agents armed with tanks and CS gas. The tanks and military grade CS gas caused major structural damage to the building, preventing people from escaping after a massive fire was triggered within the complex, killing almost everyone inside including 25 innocent children.
One week after the massacre, The International Workers Bulletin, the US forerunner of the World Socialist Web Site, published a statement, “The political lessons of the Waco massacre.” The statement made the assessment that the “actions of the Clinton administration are far more dangerous and its defense of the Waco massacre far more chilling than anything done or said by David Koresh and his band of fundamentalists.
“There is one major political lesson that should be drawn from the bloody events of the last week: If this is how the capitalist state proceeds with a small group of religious fanatics of the kind that were openly cultivated during the years of the Reagan and Bush administrations, how much more brutally will it proceed against militant struggles of the working class, which pose a real challenge to the profit system?”
Following the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, both parties fully supported the FBI’s persecution of working class Muslims, and both parties, including Trump, support the ongoing persecution of WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange whose only “crime” was revealing US war crimes.
The fact is both capitalist parties, Republican and the Democratic alike, fully embrace and support the FBI and the entire police-military-intelligence apparatus when it is advancing the predatory interests of US imperialism and targeting the working class and other agreed-upon “enemies of the state.”
This is the real “two-tiered justice system” in the US, which does not operate on political or religious affiliation, but on the basis of the class division.
Under conditions in which US police, like clockwork, kill on average three people a day, overwhelmingly working class and poor, Biden, just like Trump and Obama before him, has flooded police departments with billions of dollars to oppress, harass and intimidate workers, immigrants and socialist and left-wing activists.