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Former President Donald Trump speaks March 25, 2023, at a rally in Waco, Texas. (AP) Former President Donald Trump speaks March 25, 2023, at a rally in Waco, Texas. (AP)

Former President Donald Trump speaks March 25, 2023, at a rally in Waco, Texas. (AP)

Matthew Crowley
By Matthew Crowley March 26, 2023
Amy Sherman
By Amy Sherman March 26, 2023

A week after claiming his arrest is imminent, former President Donald Trump took the stage at a campaign rally in Waco, Texas, to insult the people investigating him and to claim his innocence.

Trump, who is campaigning to retake the presidency, has said he’ll soon be charged in a case over alleged concealment of a $130,000 hush money payment to Stormy Daniels, an adult film actress, during the 2016 presidential election run-up. 

Trump said that Manhattan District Attorney Alvin L. Bragg and the Justice Department are investigating him "for something that is not a crime. Not a misdemeanor. Not an affair." 

Trump’s March 25 speech drew thousands of spectators and began with a recording of "Justice for All," featuring Trump and the J6 Prison Choir, men jailed in Washington, D.C., for their actions during the Jan. 6, 2021, U.S. Capitol riot. In the song, the choir sings "The Star-Spangled Banner" as Trump recites the Pledge of Allegiance.

Trump described the 2024 election as "the final battle." 

"You put me back in the White House, their reign will be over and America will be a free nation once again," Trump said.

Trump’s rally in Waco came amid the 30th anniversary of the siege of a walled compound there occupied by the Branch Davidians, a religious cult. The two-month siege ended April 19, 1993. Eighty-two Branch Davidians and four federal agents died.

Trump campaign spokesperson Steven Cheung told PolitiFact that Trump held his first 2024 campaign rally in Waco because it was "the ideal location to have as many supporters from across the state and in neighboring states attend this historic rally."

In his 90-minute speech, Trump attacked Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, a potential 2024 GOP presidential nomination rival. We fact-checked multiple claims on several topics that were false or misleading.

"Every promise I made to you as a candidate, I fulfilled as your president. Promises made, promises kept. I promised to end NAFTA and I did."

Trump is wrong that he kept all of his campaign promises. But he correctly cited some kept promises, including to renegotiate NAFTA, aka the North American Free Trade Agreement, a 1994 trade deal among the United States, Mexico and Canada.

PolitiFact’s Trump-O-Meter tracked 100 of Trump’s 2016 campaign promises. We rated about half of his promises as Broken, about one quarter as Kept and the rest as Compromise. 

Trump broke promises to bring back manufacturing, grow the economy by 4% a year and repeal the Affordable Care Act. Trump kept promises to not cut Social Security, cancel the Paris climate accord and defund Planned Parenthood.

Trump’s promises to cut taxes for everyone, not cut Medicare and hire American workers first met our definition of a Compromise, after achieving substantially less than pledged.

We are similarly tracking Biden’s progress on his 2020 campaign promises.

Speaking of DeSantis, Trump said, "it’s never good to try and destroy Social Security, it's never good to raise the minimum age to a very high level."

This is misleading.

In 2013 as a U.S. House representative, DeSantis joined 103 Republicans on a failed resolution to raise the age to qualify for Medicare and Social Security to 70. Budget resolutions are symbolic statements of a policy preference; even if they pass, they don't become law.

At the time, DeSantis said he wanted to make the programs "financially sustainable" for younger generations. In 2023 and ahead of a possible presidential bid, DeSantis walked back that stance, telling Fox News in early March that he would not "mess with" entitlement programs like Social Security and Medicare. 

"We are a nation that is consumed by the radical left's Green New Deal. Yet everyone knows that the Green New Deal will lead to our destruction." 

This is misleading because it omits that the Green New Deal never became law.

The Green New Deal was a nonbinding proposal outlining ways to curb climate change and protect the environment. 

Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y., and Sen. Edward Markey, D-Mass., introduced Green New Deal resolutions in 2019 that met heavy Republican opposition. The House resolution never reached a vote and the Senate rejected moving forward in 2019. The resolution in 2021 also did not become law.

Other false and misleading claims
  • The 2020 presidential election "was rigged." Trump has been making baseless statements about a "rigged" election since 2016. We rated his statement that in 2020 he "won in a landslide" as Pants on Fire.

  • On assistance to Ukraine: "Obama gave them pillows. … They gave them pillows and sheets, I gave them Javelins." This is a misleading talking point about aid to Ukraine under former President Barack Obama. In total, between 2014 and 2016, the United States committed more than $600 million in security assistance to Ukraine. Under Obama, the federal government started the Ukraine Security Assistance Initiative, which sent other kinds of U.S. military equipment to the country. From federal fiscal years 2016 to 2019, which overlaps with Obama and Trump, Congress appropriated $850 million for Ukraine aid.

  • "I built the wall completely out of cash, as promised." Trump broke his promise to build a wall and make Mexico pay for it. Trump's administration mainly replaced barriers installed by previous administrations; Mexico did not pay for that construction.  

RELATED: Q&A: Can Trump run for president if indicted in Stormy Daniels case? What happens if he's arrested?

RELATED: All of our fact-checks of Trump on the Truth-O-Meter

RELATED: Fact-checking 2024 presidential candidates, who’s running

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Fact-checking Trump’s false and misleading claims in Waco, Texas, rally