Trump is sending a 'blaring air horn' to violent extremists with his Waco rally: Texas paper
President Trump concludes his campaign speech at the rally in the Bojangle's Coliseum. (Jeffery Edwards /

Former President Donald Trump's decision to hold a rally in Waco, Texas is a "blaring air horn" to violent extremists to go to war in his name, wrote the editorial board of the Houston Chronicle on Thursday.

"The GOP-friendly city of Waco — Trump won McLennan County by more than 20 percentage points in 2020 – has every right, of course, to host a former president, the leading contender for the 2024 Republican presidential nomination, but 'Waco' the symbol ... has become an Alamo of sorts, a shrine for the Proud Boys, the Three Percenters, the Oath Keepers and other anti-government extremists and conspiracists," wrote the board. "Waco helped spawn what Fort Worth writer Jeff Guinn calls a 'legacy of rage' in his new book about the Branch Davidian siege. The Northeast Texas Regional Militia of Texarkana erected a granite headstone at the site that reads as follows: 'On February 28, 1993, a church and its members known as Branch Davidians came under attack by A.T.F. and F.B.I. agents. For 51 days the Davidians and their leader, David Koresh, stood proudly.' As Oklahoma City bomber Timothy McVeigh put it, 'Waco started this war.'"

This sends a clear message, the board wrote, just as it sent a clear message for Ronald Reagan to kick off his 1980 campaign in Philadelphia, Mississippi — the site of a gruesome 1964 murder of civil rights workers by the Ku Klux Klan — and give a speech invoking "states' rights."

"Militia members and conspiracists know exactly what Trump’s Waco visit symbolizes. They have heard him castigate the FBI and the 'deep state,' particularly after agents searched for classified documents at Mar-a-Lago," wrote the board. "How they’ll respond to his remarks, particularly if he shows up as the first former president in American history to face criminal charges, has law enforcement in Waco and beyond taking every precaution. What he says will likely set the tone for the presidential campaign to come. Every American should be concerned."

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This would not be the first time Trump sent a message directly to extremist groups; he famously told the Proud Boys to "stand back and stand by" in a 2020 presidential debate — and a couple months after that, the group went on to storm the Capitol.

Americans, the board concluded, should turn their back on whatever stunt Trump has planned.

"Go to Waco, we suggest," wrote the board. "Go to Waco to take in Baylor football and basketball, and the Armstrong-Browning Library on the Baylor campus. Marvel at a fossil herd of Ice Age mammoths and enjoy a forested municipal park along the banks of the Brazos and Bosque rivers, sample Chip and Joanna Gaines’s ever-expanding Fixer Upper empire. Don’t bother with a bombastic, bullying candidate inclined to incitement and bent on 'retribution.' His appearance is ample reason to stay home."