5 Takes on 'The Mug Shot'

'He gave his haters nothing,' writes one observer
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted Aug 25, 2023 1:44 PM CDT
5 Takes on 'The Mug Shot'
This booking photo provided by the Fulton County Sheriff’s Office shows former President Donald Trump after he surrendered and was booked at the Fulton County Jail in Atlanta.   (Fulton County Sheriff’s Office via AP)

Donald Trump's mug shot was, not surprisingly, a big topic of conversation Friday. Some samples:

  • A payoff: The "photo offers a rough visage, formidable and extremely serious—which is what I assume he was going for," writes Mark Leibovich at the Atlantic. "He made an effort here. It paid off. He gave his haters nothing in the ballpark of vulnerability. At 9:38 p.m., he tweeted out the image with a link to his campaign website and a message: 'never surrender!'"

  • Control: The mug shot shows us that Trump is a "mere mortal," writes former federal attorney Joyce Vance on Substack. "While Trump undoubtedly practiced this pose for days in advance of being booked, it's the last act of a man who no longer controls what is about to happen to him. He can make requests, but he will not control the schedule. He will have to abide by the conditions that four judges have now set for him to remain free on bond pending trial."
  • Everywhere: It was impossible to escape the image on news sites Friday. You can already, of course, buy the mug shot on fundraising T-shirts and yes, mugs, notes Karen Townsend at Hot Air. "Democrats and the press—redundant, I know – have been longing for a Trump mugshot since he won the 2016 election. Now they have it. It's smart for Trump to take advantage of it, same as others." Her bigger question: "Is the Trump mugshot automatically the most famous photo ever?"
  • Image of 2023: At the very least, the image will be "the de facto picture of the year," writes Vanessa Friedman at the New York Times. It is, she adds, "a symbol of either equality under the law or the abuse of it—the ultimate memento of a norm-shattering presidency and this social-media-obsessed, factionalized age."
  • Control, II: "A mug shot is a visceral representation of the criminal justice system, a symbol of lost freedom," writes Jonathan J. Cooper at the AP. "It permanently memorializes one of the worst days of a person's life, a moment not meant for a scrapbook. It must be particularly foreign to a man born into privilege, who famously loves to be in control, who is highly attentive to his image and who rose to be the most powerful figure in the world."
(More Donald Trump stories.)

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