Home Politics Trump’s Mug Shot: ‘Not Comfortable’ but Potentially Lucrative

Trump’s Mug Shot: ‘Not Comfortable’ but Potentially Lucrative

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Trump’s Mug Shot: ‘Not Comfortable’ but Potentially Lucrative

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Former President Donald J. Trump has done his best to appear unfazed and unbowed by having been indicted four times since March, but even he acknowledged that he did not enjoy one particular element of his booking in Georgia on Thursday night on racketeering charges: the mug shot.

“It is not a comfortable feeling — especially when you’ve done nothing wrong,” he told Fox News’s website in an interview afterward.

Nonetheless, he made the most of it.

Not long after the release of the mug shot — the first taken of Mr. Trump in any of the criminal proceedings he faces and the first known to have been taken of any former president — it appeared prominently on Mr. Trump’s campaign website, under a “personal note from President Donald J. Trump.”

At the bottom were several tabs users could click to donate to his campaign in small-dollar increments.

Mr. Trump quickly posted the picture on X, marking his return to the platform formerly known as Twitter for the first time since he was banned by the company’s former ownership following the attack on the Capitol by a pro-Trump mob on Jan. 6, 2021.

The joint fund-raising website his campaign helps maintain immediately started offering mugs, beverage coolers and T-shirts in different colors and sizes with the mug shot and the words, “Never Surrender!” (Those words despite the fact that the photo was taken upon his surrender to authorities in Georgia).

Mr. Trump’s oldest son, Donald Trump Jr., posted on X a link to his own website featuring merchandise with the photo. The younger Mr. Trump said he would donate proceeds from the sales to a legal-defense fund that his father’s advisers had set up to assist with bills accrued by people who are witnesses in the cases.

The mug shot represented perhaps his best chance to juice his fund-raising numbers in several weeks, after raising several million dollars following his March indictment in New York on charges related to hush-money payments to a porn actress but seeing that figure drop after the Justice Department’s special counsel, Jack Smith, filed charges against him in June for mishandling national security documents.

Even before the mug shot was snapped at the jail in Atlanta, an email from his joint fund-raising committee primed his supporters by saying, “It’s been reported that if I am unjustly indicted and arrested in the Atlanta Witch Hunt, a mug shot will be taken of me.”

Campaign officials did not make overnight fund-raising figures public on Friday morning.

In a sign of how valuable the Trump campaign anticipated the mug shot could be to its fund-raising, one of Mr. Trump’s top advisers, Chris LaCivita, issued a warning on social media — with 11 siren emojis — to other who might seek to profit from the photo, which is a public document.

“If you are a campaign, PAC, scammer and you try raising money off the mugshot of @realDonaldTrump and you have not received prior permission …WE ARE COMING AFTER YOU you will NOT SCAM DONORS,” he wrote on X.

Mr. Trump has never shied away from opportunities to wring financial benefit from what is happening in his life and career. But in this case the personal and the political were mixed in ways that he acknowledged was out of the ordinary even by his standards.

“They insisted on a mug shot and I agreed to do that,” Mr. Trump told Fox News’s website after he was booked on a lengthy list of charges stemming from his efforts to remain in power after his election loss. “This is the only time I’ve ever taken a mug shot.”

In the New York case, the office of the Manhattan district attorney, Alvin L. Bragg, opted against a mug shot, which is used to identify criminal defendants in case they flee while awaiting trial. Federal officials came to the same conclusion that there was no need to take another picture of Mr. Trump, arguably the most recognizable face on the planet.

But in Fulton County, Ga., on Thursday, officials adhered strictly to protocol, even as Mr. Trump appeared at the jail with news helicopters tracking his motorcade.

That decision left some of Mr. Trump’s rivals unsettled.

“I think it’s disgraceful,” said Nikki Haley, the former governor of South Carolina, on Fox News on Friday. “I mean, the idea that we’re seeing a mug shot of a 77-year-old former president. I mean, how did we get to this point? And I don’t know that anyone in America should look at that and feel good about it.”



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