Former US President Donald Trump presented himself as the victim of completely unfounded accusations from the judiciary at a campaign event in Texas. He was guilty of “no crime, no misconduct,” he said on Saturday (local time) in front of thousands of supporters. The Republican, who wants to retake the White House in 2024, faces indictment for paying hush money to a porn actress. For his first major campaign rally, Trump chose Waco, a symbolic place of pilgrimage for right-wing extremists.

“The District Attorney of New York, under the auspices of the ‘Department of Justice’ in Washington DC, has investigated something that is not a crime, not a wrongdoing, not an affair,” Trump said in his speech. He was the victim of “one witch hunt and one invented investigation after the other”. Behind it were “radical left-wing lunatics”. Friends thought he was probably the “most innocent man” in US history.

The 76-year-old is currently facing charges of hush money paid to porn actress Stormy Daniels in 2016. A week ago, Trump said he should be arrested in the case and called on his supporters to protest.

He named last Tuesday as the day of the alleged arrest. To date, however, no charges have been filed, let alone an arrest. In the past few weeks, however, there have been increasing signs that Trump could soon be indicted.

The right-wing populist has recently escalated his attacks on Manhattan Attorney General Alvin Bragg, calling him a “depraved psychopath who really hates the United States.” An indictment could lead to “death and destruction,” Trump warned. In Waco, Trump used his nickname for Bragg again: “I’ve never liked horse face,” he said.

Apparently referring to his alleged fling with Stormy Daniels, Trump said: “It wouldn’t be the one. There isn’t one. We have a great First Lady.”

Trump was also targeted by investigations due to other incidents. In November, US Attorney General Merrick Garland appointed a special counsel to investigate Trump’s role in the January 2021 storming of the Capitol. Because of the excesses of his supporters, impeachment proceedings had been initiated against the ex-president, but these failed in the Senate.

Trump claimed every part of his life is being screened like no other in US history. In the audience, spectators held signs with the word “witch hunt” in their hands – Trump’s usual slogan. The song “Justice for all” was played at the beginning of his speech, which lasted about an hour and a half. It is sung by a male choir whose members were convicted of their involvement in the January 6, 2021 Capitol attack. Proceeds from the song will be used to provide legal support to those accused of the violent riots. In the song, Trump recites the Pledge of Allegiance to the United States while the choir sings the national anthem.

Trump’s supporters consider the allegations against him to be either fabricated or insignificant. “Everything is distorted to give him a bad image,” said Kelly Heath, 49, in Waco. This should silence Trump.

A 72-year-old retiree named Louis said, “All presidents have had mistresses. Why not him?” Another Trump supporter said Stormy Daniels’ claim that she had sex with Trump was “no big deal”. The porn actress “came out of nowhere to see how much money she could make out of it”.

Trump had previously described his appearance in Waco as his first major campaign event in the 2024 presidential race. The venue caused a stir in advance: 30 years ago, Waco was the scene of a massive police operation lasting several weeks against supporters of the Branch Davidians sect, as a result of which more than 80 people died.

The Texas city subsequently became a place of pilgrimage for right-wing extremists who see Waco as a symbol of a tyrannical government. Trump’s campaign team did not respond to inquiries from the AFP news agency about the reasons for the choice of location.

With the rally, Trump wanted to give his election campaign new impetus. Although most polls see him as the winner of the Republican primaries, the enthusiasm among supporters of his party is not as great as Trump had hoped.

In addition, a section of the right, including some wealthy campaign donors, has turned to Trump’s inner-party opponent, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis. The 44-year-old has yet to officially throw his hat in the ring for the presidential nomination.