How Waco Became a Right-Wing Rallying Cry
Donald Trump recently staged the first major rally of his 2024 Presidential campaign in Waco, Texas. Thirty years ago, a botched federal raid on the compound of the Branch Davidians—a heavily-armed splinter group of the Seventh-day Adventist Church dominated by the charismatic David Koresh—led to a harrowing fifty-one-day siege. Just twenty miles from Waco, this standoff ended with federal tanks, tear gas, a fire, and more than seventy dead. Trump’s people claim the rally’s timing is coincidental, the location chosen for its convenient travel from four major Texas metropolitan areas. But in the past thirty years the siege of Waco has become a rallying cry for right-wing extremists from Timothy McVeigh to Alex Jones. Rachel Monroe is a contributing writer at The New Yorker, where she covers Texas and the Southwest. She joins Tyler Foggatt to talk about what happened in 1993, and how its mythology remains a galvanizing political force thirty years later.