But beneath the levity lay the tragic story of the first ever US President to be officially booked, fingerprinted, and have his mugshot taken like a common criminal after Donald Trump surrendered at a county jail in Georgia on Thursday to face racketeering and conspiracy charges related to his his alleged efforts to overthrow the 2020 election results.
He was also given a prisoner identification number: P01135809 and released on payment of 10 percent of his $200,000 bail, pending a trial that could begin as early as October.It was the fourth time the former President has been arrested this year on various charges in different cases. But unlike with his previous three arrests – in New York City, Miami and Washington DC – officials in Atlanta, Georgia, went by the book to have his mugshot taken and released on Thursday.
Although a mugshot is typically mandatory in criminal cases, Trump was spared that in previous cases because prosecutors felt there was no need for formal photo identification of the former president, and they wanted to avoid a spectacle.
But authorities in Georgia were unsparing. Ahead of his surrender, Trump blasted Georgia District Attorney Fani Willis, who happens to be black, calling her a “Radical Left, Lowlife District Attorney.”
Following his release after spending less than half hour in jail, Trump, dressed in a blue suit and red tie (even for the prison mugshot), resumed his political campaign as he boarded his private plane back to New Jersey, telling reporters that it was “a very sad day for America” and what was happening was “a travesty of justice.”
“We did nothing wrong, I did nothing wrong… We had every right, every single right, to challenge an election we think was dishonest,” he said.
Soon after, he posted the mugshot on X, the rechristened Twitter, making a virtue of the photograph with the caption “Election Interference. Never Surrender.”
It was his first tweet since January 2021 when he was turfed out of the platform and it gathered almost a million likes.
Within hours, the Trump campaign was selling T-shirts, mugs, and stickers with the arrest photograph to raise funds.
Trump critics mocked the mugshot with hundreds of memes surfacing on social media, including one of Barack Obama photographing Trump with a caption reading, “Smile please!”
Several other Trump associates have surrendered in recent days, including former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani and his former chief of staff Mark Meadows. They are all accused of joining a “conspiracy” led by Trump to unlawfully change the outcome of the 2020 Presidential election.
In each case, they have sought to make a virtue of being arrested and photographed, like Trump embracing the mugshot like a bad of honor.
“The greatest Mayor in the history of New York City was just ARRESTED in Atlanta, Georgia, because he fought for Election Integrity. THE ELECTION WAS RIGGED & STOLEN. HOW SAD FOR OUR COUNTRY. MAGA!” Trump wrote about Giuliani.