The founder of floundering social media site Truth Social (oh, and, also, the former President of the United States) was booked into jail in Fulton County, Georgia on Thursday night. Donald Trump, who faces RICO charges and is accused of attempting to overturn the 2020 presidential election, is now officially a part of the carceral system.
The best part? The mugshot, of course.
In the historic photo above (to my knowledge, no former President has ever suffered such an indignity), Trump does what he does best which is use his terrible magnetic energy to capture the world’s attention and pivot every eyeball in his general direction. What is Trump’s expression trying to convey here? Is he royally pissed? Is he putting on a brave face? Does he need to go to the bathroom? As ever, Trump remains somewhat sphinx-like—emanating different energies to different folks, so it’s hard to say really what the sentiment here truly is. He certainly doesn’t look thrilled.
Anticipation for Trump’s mugshot built yesterday, as the mugshots for his alleged co-conspirators circulated online, immediately drawing comparisons to batman villains. Yeah, the internet really had a good time with it.
Still, it’s hard to overstate the cultural and political impact that Trump’s singular mugshot holds. How many memes will be born on the back of this one picture? How many T-shirts will be sold with Trump’s big orange face—looking like a constipated owl—imprinted on it? And will Republicans or Democrats be the bigger target demographic for said T-shirts? Furthermore, what broad array of merch will be born from this (there appears to already be a Rudy Guliani mugshot mug available on Etsy)? Will NFTs be involved? And is it possible that—at some far flung date—Trump will release a hip hop album and use this photo as the cover? Perhaps most importantly, how swiftly and efficiently will Republicans capitalize on this photo to agitate their base and send their rage-filled constituents fuming to the ballot boxes? (From the look of things on Kari Lake’s twitter account tonight, the answer is: pretty fucking swiftly.)
Finally, there’s much discussion to be had about how Trump’s mugshot stacks up, historically, next to other famous mugshots. Like, is this photo closer in spirit to Al Capone or Nick Nolte? Lee Harvey Oswald or James Brown? Or does it have more of the sassy defiance of Lindsay Lohan’s many, many mugshots throughout the years?
In short: the digital event of the year is here, so have at it, internet.