Trump's mug shot strategy: He posted it on X for clicks
Why it matters: It was the first time in more than 2 1/2 years that Trump posted on Elon Musk's platform now known as X — and was a signal that Trump might resume posting on the platform that was his main megaphone before and during his presidency.
- Trump's team already is using Thursday's mug shot on campaign merchandise and multi-platform fundraising appeals that claim he's being prosecuted unfairly.
- Trump aides said his own Truth Social platform will continue to be his focus — but they didn't rule out Trump returning to Musk's platform, where millions more people are likely to see his posts.
- "I will leave it to President Trump to decide how he wants to use his social media accounts," one aide said. "Stay tuned."
Before Thursday, Trump hadn't posted on Twitter/X since Jan. 8, 2021 — two days after the Capitol riot — but he still has 87 million followers there, the ninth-most of anyone on the platform.
- That's far more than the roughly 6.4 million followers Trump has on his Truth Social network, where he now posts regularly.
- X's audience will be particularly tempting for Trump while he's wrapped up in four felony trials and a campaign for president.
Zoom in: Trump first posted his mug shot on Truth Social late Thursday — just after surrendering to authorities in Fulton County, Ga., where he's accused of leading a criminal enterprise that tried to overturn the 2020 election results in Georgia.
- Minutes later Trump tweeted his mug shot from his dormant account on X. By late Friday it had 1.4 million "likes."
- Three hours after the tweet, Trump returned to Truth Social with a message to supporters who had followed him to his platform.
- "I LOVE TRUTH SOCIAL. IT IS MY HOME," Trump wrote.
- According to a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission, Trump is obligated to post on Truth Social exclusively unless it is about political matters.
As of late Friday he hadn't posted on X again, but was continuing to do so on Truth Social.
- He complained about being prosecuted, criticized Fox News' ratings for the GOP presidential debate he skipped this week — and reposted his own post with the mug shot and a fundraising appeal.
Flashback: Under Twitter's previous ownership, Trump was banned on Jan. 8, 2021, over his actions on Jan. 6 that led his supporters to storm the Capitol to try to stop Congress' certification of the election results.
- Less than a year later Trump launched his own platform, Truth Social, and it became his main way to message his conservative base.