Rock musician and conservative activist Ted Nugent targeted Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky during an appearance Saturday at a 2024 presidential campaign rally held for former President Donald Trump in Waco, Texas.
“I am a guitar player, I have a couple of demands. Secure my border,” he said as crowds cheered. “I have a couple of really good ideas: give me my tax dollars back. I didn’t authorize killing babies at Planned Parenthood….I want my money back. I didn’t authorize any money to Ukraine to some homosexual weirdo.”
Nugent was referring to the military and humanitarian aid that the Biden administration has been sending to Ukraine to help defeat Russia in the war that Russian President Vladimir Putin launched February of last year.
Ukraine has received $48 billion in U.S. aid between January 24, 2022, and November 20, 2022, according to the Kiel Institute for the World Economy. Biden also announced an additional military aid package in February to help the war-torn country fight Russian troops in a war that extended throughout major cities, including Kyiv, Kherson, Odesa, and most recently Bakhmut in the Donetsk region which has been the site of months-long fighting between Russian and paramilitary forces against Ukrainian troops.
The continuous aid sent by the U.S. to Ukraine has outraged some conservatives and Republicans who oppose sending more funds, including MAGA Republicans such as Representatives Matt Gaetz of Florida and Marjorie Taylor Greene of Georgia who recently called for impeaching Biden for supporting the Eastern European country.
MAGA (Make America Great Again) is a political slogan that was first introduced by Trump during his 2016 presidential campaign. Those who believe and tout the MAGA agenda, which includes criticism of Biden’s policies, often act on impulse fueled by fears and concerns that they might lose their country, according to UC Santa Barbara political science professor Christopher Sebastian Parker
“Right now, these people feel like they’re losing their country and their identity. They feel like they’re being displaced by communities of color, by feminists and by immigrants. These people are motivated by what they see as an existential threat to their way of life,” Parker said in a 2021 research that he co-authored, looking into MAGA supporters’ behavior in wake of the Capitol riot in 2021 when Trump supporters stormed the Capitol building in an attempt to stop the certification of Joe Biden’s presidential victory.
Trump is scheduled to deliver a speech at 6 p.m. ET at the rally in Waco where he is having his first campaign stop for the 2024 presidential election. Texas has been branded by Trump’s website as “Trump Country” in reference to state crowds who selected candidates he endorsed in past elections.
However, the location and timing of the rally raised eyebrows as it coincides with the 30th anniversary of the Waco siege, which ended in the deaths of 86 people after a 51-day standoff between U.S. law enforcement and Branch Davidians, an apocalyptic religious movement that was suspected of stockpiling illegal weapons. The siege ended in a huge fire at the Mount Carmel Center, and the incident, along with its location, has been seen as a symbol of government overreach.
Trump’s spokesperson Steven Cheung told Newsweek on Saturday that the decision to hold the rally in Waco was because the city is “centrally located and close” to some of Texas’ largest cities— Dallas/Ft. Worth, Houston, Austin, and San Antonio.
The former president is holding his rally amid several ongoing criminal investigations targeting him, including a New York probe into alleged hush money paid to adult film star Stormy Daniels ahead of the 2016 presidential election.
Daniels alleged that she had an affair with Trump in 2006, which he has denied as he strongly criticized the investigation. The former president could face potential charges in the investigation led by Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg’s office.
Over the course of the investigation, Trump has repeatedly slammed Bragg and called for his supporters to protest against a possible indictment.
Newsweek reached out to Parker by email for comment.