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Mixed reaction as former President Trump plans first 2024 campaign stop in Waco

President Trump
Posted at 11:55 AM, Mar 22, 2023
and last updated 2023-03-22 17:23:48-04

Preparations are underway as former President Donald Trump is set to hold his first official rally for his third White House bid on Saturday.

Trump's campaign announced Friday that he is set to speak at the Waco Regional Airport on Saturday evening.

The announcement is being met with mixed reaction among Central Texans.

The McLennan County Republican Party is not endorsing a candidate in the primary, but is involved in the preparation process for this weekend.

"It's been exciting news, you know, any time a presidential candidate comes to Waco, Texas, it's big news," said party chair Brad Holland.

The McLennan County Democratic Party criticized the rally as unnecessary showmanship.

"He's going to come here and put on a show for his fans, but if you're concerned about government right now, you need to pay attention to the legislature," said party chair Mark Hays.

One of the biggest questions surrounding Trump's visit is the reason he selected Waco as his first stop.

Baylor Political Science professor Pat Flavin credits the selection to a few possibilities. One is Trump's favorability in Central Texas.

"He won McLennan County by over 20 percentage points and so, politicians in general, but Donald Trump especially, go to places where he's going to be well-received," Flavin said.

Another possibility, Flavin said, is the attention on Waco during the 30th anniversary of the siege at Mount Carmel.

"It's sort of feeding Trump's antigovernment sentiment, that sort of concern about the 'deep state,'" Flavin said.

Holland explained that he was reassured by the county, city and secret service have signed off on the event and will handle security for the event.

The city of Waco told 25 News on Tuesday that logistics for the event are still being finalized and that more details will be available later this week.

Trump is set to take the stage at 5 p.m. on Saturday.