For the first time in American history, a former president has had his mug shot released following an arrest. Donald Trump surrendered to authorities in Georgia on Thursday as part of his fourth and most recent criminal indictment and a booking photo soon emerged.
While it was shared widely — and gleefully celebrated — by Trump’s political enemies, many of his fans interpreted it as a symbol of the politicized justice system behind his mounting legal troubles.
Trump sought to capitalize on the development by staging a long-awaited return to X, the platform formerly known as Twitter from which he was booted in the aftermath of the Jan. 6 Capitol Hill protest.
Although Elon Musk reinstated the former president’s account after acquiring the company last year, there has been no new activity until this week.
Trump spoke highly of Musk at the time but indicated that he intended to keep his social media activity limited to Truth Social, the platform he launched in response to the Big Tech backlash against him.
“I don’t see any reason for it,” he said of a potential return to the platform. “They have a lot of problems at Twitter. You see what’s going on. It may make it; it may not.”
He also took the opportunity to tout the “very, very powerful, very, very strong” performance of Truth Social as a reason that he doesn’t “see any reason” to return to the platform on which he once posted prolifically.
“Truth Social is through the roof,” he said at the time. “It’s doing phenomenally well, the press needs to talk about it, but it’s doing phenomenally well. I think engagement is much better than it is with Twitter. And It’s taking care of voices that really want to be taken care of, and smart voices, brilliant voices, voices that in many cases are both sides.”
As political commentator Jack Posobiec suggested earlier in the day, however, Trump opted to use his attention-grabbing mug shot as his first X post in more than two and a half years.
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) August 25, 2023
While he first shared the image on Truth Social, it soon surfaced on his X profile along with an all-caps message declaring: “Election interference never surrender!”
The post also included a link to his website.