Texas' GOP leaders are skipping Trump's Waco rally because of 'prior commitments' as possible indictments dog his 2024 campaign

Former US President Donald Trump searches the crowd while speaking during an event at the Adler Theatre on Monday, March 13, 2023, in Davenport, Iowa.
Former US President Donald Trump searches the crowd while speaking during an event at the Adler Theatre on Monday, March 13, 2023, in Davenport, Iowa.Jabin Botsford/The Washington Post via Getty Images
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  • Former President Donald Trump is holding a 2024 campaign rally in Waco, Texas on Saturday.

  • None of the 30 Texas Republicans Insider contacted about the event said they were going.

  • Even House Republicans who've endorsed Trump's comeback bid after skipping the fly-in.

If Trump thought heading to ruby red Texas this weekend would force Republican leaders to come running as he seeks to fend off swirling indictments, the embattled former president is in for a rude awakening.

Insider couldn't find a single GOP official —  from the Lone Star State's entire congressional delegation to the mayor of the cult siege-marred town — who willingly planned to participate in his official 2024 campaign rollout in Waco on Saturday.

Most of the 30 GOP members contacted about Donald Trump's inaugural visit to the site of a 30-year-old standoff between cult leader David Koresh and federal authorities did not respond to requests for comment about whether they intended to rally with the scandal-plagued candidate and perhaps say a few kind words.

The handful who told Insider they wouldn't be able to make it, for whatever reason, include the Texas Republican who represents Waco in Congress, along with a House GOP colleague who has already endorsed Trump's third reelection bid.

Steering clear of Trump right now would seem to make a lot of sense, given that he's being investigated for alleged crimes — including inciting the deadly January 6, 2021 siege at the US Capitol — and has scoffed at calls for MAGA to peacefully protest if he winds up getting arrested.

Trump campaign spokesman Steven Cheung declined to comment about who the supporting cast might be for the fly-in at Waco's regional airport, telling Insider that "speakers and attendees will be announced on our time."

Cheung was also non-committal about whether former Trump rally companions like Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene of Georgia or failed Arizona gubernatorial candidate Kari Lake would pop up in Texas. A local GOP strategist told Insider that they'd seen an email billing Greene as one of Trump's promised "special guest speakers," but her office did not respond to requests for comment about any confirmed speaking slot.

Rep. Pete Sessions, a Waco native who now represents the surrounding 17th congressional district, praised Trump for shining a light on his hometown but said he'd have to miss the spectacle.

"I cannot be at this weekend's rally due to a commitment I made to attend an important community event in Nacogdoches, Texas, another area of my district," Sessions wrote in an email, adding that "every serious contender should travel to Central Texas and make their case to the electorate."

While he stopped short of offering an official endorsement for any of the 2024 presidential hopefuls — stating only that the eventual nominee "should embody Texan values" — Sessions urged rally attendees "to show the same support I have for President Trump."

Aides to Rep. Troy Nehls, one of the four House Republicans from Texas who have formally backed Trump's 2024 run, told Insider he wouldn't be heading to Waco because of a prior commitment in Washington, DC, this weekend. Rep. Chip Roy, on the other hand, won't be hightailing it over to Waco given that he recently endorsed anticipated 2024 candidate Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis as his pick for the GOP nomination.

Other Texas Republicans who said they'd be unable to huddle with Trump for unspecified reasons include Rep. Michael McCaul, and state GOP chairman Matt Rinaldi.

Waco Mayor Dillon Meek said he had previously committed to attending a centennial banquet for the 10th Court of Appeals on Saturday, so joining the Trump rally wouldn't work out.

The bigger concern, Meek told Insider, was that the high-profile visit might in any way backfire after the decades the community has spent building back from the Branch Davidian tragedy.

"My hope is that the national image of our city will continue to reflect the positive occurrences in Waco," Meek wrote in an email, touting developments like family-friendly tourist attractions and budding economic growth. "Rather than a siege, albeit tragic, that occurred 30 years ago."

Read the original article on Business Insider