FORT WORTH, Texas — Hundreds stood in a winding line Saturday at the Waco airport waiting to see the man they hope is America’s next president: Donald Trump.
“Make America Great Again” hats, clothing adorned with American flags and “Trump 2024” gear speckled the crowd as they waited for doors to open at noon for the rally at Waco Regional Airport.
Saturday marked Trump’s first rally since he announced his 2024 presidential campaign.
“You don’t ever see a Joe Biden crowd this big,” said Adolf Arizpe of Waco.
Trump was scheduled to speak at 5 p.m.
Valeri Galland traveled from Burleson with her husband for the event, her third Trump rally.
“I think it’s awesome, because Texas loves Trump,” she said about the former president’s first rally of his new campaign being held in the Lone Star State.
In another field across the road, American flags and Trump flags fastened to cars blew in the wind.
“Texans for Trump,” read one.
Another advertised the belief many of his supporters and the former president himself have carried with them the past three years, though disproven: “TRUMP WON.”
The former president won Texas in 2020 by 5.6 points, the second-closest margin in Texas for president in 25 years, according to The Texas Tribune.
Fifty-six percent of Texas Republican voters said Trump should run for president in 2024, according to a February poll by the Texas Politics Project at UT Austin.
“I actually got my family on board to support him the first time around, and we’ve loved him ever since, and we want to come out and show our support,” Galland said. She recalled participating in Trump parades in Burleson ahead of the 2020 election.
News of whether Trump would be under indictment by the time he visited Texas was being closely watched. News reports earlier in March cited law enforcement sources saying he could be charged as early as this week for alleged hush money paid to pornographic actress Stormy Daniels. Trump has denied the allegations.
Friday came and went without word from the New York grand jury related to the case, and the Waco rally continued as planned.
Those at Saturday’s event think it may stay that way.
“If it does, it does, but at the end of the day it’s a scam,” Arizpe said. “It’s a scam.”
“And if they don’t get him on this one they’ll try another one, and another one,” added Sharon Lazaren of Marquette, Michigan.
Lazaren and her husband Mitch were visiting their children in Austin when they found out there was a Trump rally nearby. They came to cross off a bucket list item, Sharon said.
Mitch said whether Trump would win in 2024 wasn’t a matter of chance. He believes Trump will take the race.
Wendy Cooper, who called herself a “big ol’ Trump supporter” who wanted change, drove more than three hours from Abilene. She thinks everything in the country worked great when Trump was president.
“Is he perfect? No. Far from it,” Cooper said. “But things were a lot easier.”
Elizabeth Tisdale of Seguin thought Trump was someone who made and kept his promises. She thought an indictment was a desperate attempt to make sure Trump couldn’t run again because people know he would win.
Trump is the most prominent Republican to have announced a presidential bid. Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis has also been mentioned as a top contender, were he to enter the race.
Trump has made a number of stops to Texas in the past, including in May 2022 at a Houston NRA convention and CPAC Dallas in August 2022.
Murphy Douglas, a student at Baylor, believes Trump will be a front-runner in this year’s race.
“I just think a lot of people, like, they don’t like change,” Douglas said. “And just what happened three years ago, they just want that again. They know what to expect with Trump so they’ll want that again.”
Renay Gwin of Woodway attended the rally with her son.
“I just wanted to be a part of history, and I just think everybody deserves to have a voice and just hope today goes easily. … No disruptions, and that we just get to hear president Trump and the others and that it’s a good event,” Gwin said.