Aug 25, 2023 - Politics & Policy

Team Trump demands dibs on mug shot windfall

Screenshots via Trump's joint fundraising committee

The Trump mug shot is exploding on social media — with Republicans posting their own fake mug shots to ride the wave — and now his campaign is threatening to "come after" any "scammer" who uses the image to raise money.

Why it matters: The instantly iconic mug shot — the first taken of a past or present U.S. president — "will be forever part of the iconography of being alive in this time," USC professor Marty Kaplan told AP.

  • Former President Trump's campaign apparatus is never one to miss a branding opportunity, and Trump faces enormous legal bills from his four indictments.

The Trump joint fundraising committee has slapped the mug shot on koozies ($15 for 2), t-shirts ($34), coffee mugs ($25), posters ($28) and bumper stickers ($12 for 2).

  • "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," Trump aide Chris LaCivita posted to "X" on Thursday night.
  • Trump knows the rocket-ship nature of the pic, breaking a two year silence to post it on "X" — then reassuring his fans that Truth Social is still his "home."

Between the lines: Astute viewers will pay attention to whether Trump's team touts its fundraising totals from this feeding frenzy.

  • It raised more than $5 million in the 48 hours after his first criminal indictment this year — the case brought by Manhattan DA Alvin Bragg.
  • Trump has pleaded not guilty to the first three indictments, and publicly said he's innocent of the fourth — which involves charges that he led a criminal conspiracy to try to overturn Georgia's 2020 election results.

Zoom in: Republicans are proudly posting their own "mug shots," ranging from photoshopped to real.

Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-Ga.) posted a photoshopped picture on "X" of herself in the Fulton County mug shot template, using the hashtag #MAGAMugshot.

  • So too did conservative blogger Jim Hoft and pro-Trump activist Amy Kremer.
Screenshots: X

Not to be outdone, former West Virginia lawmaker and convicted Jan. 6 attendee Derrick Evans posted on "X" and Truth Social his own mug shot alongside Trump's.

Screenshot: Derrick Evans on X

The version that Evans posted on Truth Social was promptly re-shared by Trump.

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