Former US President Donald Trump announced his dramatic return to Twitter, now the X platform with a post of his mugshot, although he previously vowed not to return to the platform.
Before his return, Trump’s last post on X was in January 2021. The mugshot, captioned “Election interference. Never surrender,” came after his fourth arrest in five months. The picture was taken in the Fulton County Sheriff’s office where he was charged with 18 alleged co-conspirators for attempting to overturn his election defeat in Georgia in 2020.
The mugshot-driven NFT
Although X owner Elon Musk reinstated Trump’s account after acquiring the platform, the former president preferred to use his own social network known as Truth Social. Many had attributed his previous silence on X to the suspension of his account.
However, his dramatic return was a pleasant surprise to his followers estimated at over 86 million. His return saw a jump in the sales of the Trump NFT as crypto-enthusiasts and his supporters sought to have some memorabilia from the historic event, according to Coingape.
Cryptoslam.io said Trump’s Digital Card series saw a 426% day-to-day increase after the mugshot was released.
“A broader look at the week suggests an overall boost of 208% in NFT sales related to Trump,” according to Coingape adding the NFTs garnered $20.68 million from almost 47,552 transactions.
“The figures suggest a growing trend among crypto-enthusiasts, with approximately 14,016 digital wallets holding at least one Trump card, and the average ownership during a mere 19 days.”
According to BBC, Trump’s campaign website was already awash with mugshot-branded t-shirts mugs and drink coolers on sale hours after the release of the mugshot.
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) August 25, 2023
The former President looks defiantly into the camera, in what has been said to be the most “historic Georgia mugshot,” as Trump became the first US former president to have a mugshot after being arrested. The picture may have been stage-managed to intimidate prosecutors and judges, according to John Bolton, who served as national security advisor under Trump.
“I think it’s intended to be a sign of intimidation against the prosecutors and the judges,” he told CNN.
“He could’ve smiled. He could’ve looked benign. Instead, he looks like a thug,” added Bolton.
However, journalist Lawrence Cooper thinks otherwise and believes pulling off a good mugshot is always difficult. According to BBC, at least 11 of the co-conspirators have been booked, and processed at a local jail in Atlanta and their expressions in pictures vary from one individual to the other.
But smiling under such circumstances is definitely not an option according to Cooper.
“Don’t smile. A smile will make it look too arrogant,” said Cooper, adding “You want to smirk like Lindsay Lohan and Paris Hilton do. A smirk says ‘Yes, this sucks, but I’m gonna be fine.’”
Keeping it simple, she said, would be ideal; from hair to makeup and clothes. “You’re going to jail, not on an audition,” she said.
A boost for the campaign
While Trump’s mugshot appears to be of poor quality, it still carries some promotional value, according to some experts. University of York lecturer Edd Mair said Trump’s campaign “clearly thinks there’s a lot to get out of a photo like this.”
“What’s most striking about it is how on brand this is for Donald Trump. Even a mugshot there’s a way of converting this into political capital and enthusing his base,” he said adding that his supporters would want “to frame the mugshot in this way.”
One of his supporters and comedian Terrence Williams said: “I stand with President Trump and this mugshot makes me want to vote for him even more.”
The US prepares for presidential polls scheduled for November 2024 and Trump leads the Republican race to challenge President Biden. He argues the cases against him are therefore politically motivated.