By Joseph Ax
(Reuters) -Donald Trump has had his picture taken innumerable times over the decades, from his early days as a real estate magnate to his turn as a reality TV star and throughout his tumultuous four years in the White House.
But the mug shot released by Georgia authorities on Thursday, showing a scowling Trump just minutes after he was booked on more than a dozen felony counts at an Atlanta jail, may become the most famous of all, shared around the world by both detractors and supporters.
Trump, who is running for president in the 2024 election, had already made history as the first former U.S. president to face criminal charges – not once but four times. This, however, was the first time he had to pose for a booking photo.
Unlike the other authorities, who gave him a pass, Georgia opted to process him like any other criminal defendant, including fingerprints and a mug shot, in a case stemming from Trump’s efforts to overturn his 2020 election loss in the state.
In the photo, an unsmiling Trump, 77, glares into the camera, his brow furrowed, his jaw clenched and his red tie knotted tightly.
Trump wasted little time using the mug shot for fundraising purposes, posting it on X, the site formerly known as Twitter, as well as on his own social media platform, Truth Social.
The X post was Trump’s first in more than 2-1/2 years, after his account was banned following the Jan. 6, 2021, attack on the U.S. Capitol by his supporters. Elon Musk reinstated Trump’s account last year soon after acquiring X.
Trump also put the photograph on his campaign website alongside an appeal for donations, claiming he had been “arrested despite having committed no crime.”
Fake Trump mug shots had circulated online since shortly after he was first indicted in Manhattan in March on charges involving hush money paid to a porn star ahead of the 2016 election.
Outside the Fulton County Jail on Thursday, some Trump supporters questioned why a mug shot was needed.
“The mug shot isn’t necessary and is done to hurt him. But it won’t,” Malcolm Davis, 19, said.
Others, however, saw an opportunity.
“We want them to take a mug shot. We want to put it on a T-shirt. It will go worldwide. It will be a more popular image than the Mona Lisa,” said Laura Loomer, a former Republican congressional candidate.
(Reporting by Joseph Ax; Additional reporting by Andy Sullivan and Rich McKay; Editing by Howard Goller)