Trump jumped back on the social media app X, formerly Twitter, for the first time since January 2021 to post his police mugshot following his arrest in the Georgia elections case. Twitter had banned the former US President after the infamous Capitol riots in January 2021, which the company claimed was Trump inciting violence. However, he returned to the site after billionaire Elon Musk’s acquisition of X in November last year.
Trump posted the mugshot on his X account with a link to his website, saying, “Election interference. Never surrender!” The post was also shared on his own social media platform, Truth Social, which he launched last year as a rival to Twitter. He also tweeted the photo to his 86 million Twitter followers.
Tesla chief executive and X owner Elon Musk has reacted to the former US President’s mugshot post on X by saying, “Next level.” The former President was arrested on Thursday night in Fulton County jail in Atlanta, Georgia, after being charged with racketeering and conspiracy charges stemming from his attempts with 18 others to overturn the results of the 2020 election in the state.
It’s the fourth time that Trump has been charged in a court of law, and it’s his first time facing criminal charges while still President. Despite his legal problems, the Republican has been using his mugshot as a campaign tool ahead of the 2024 presidential elections, claiming it shows he’s the victim of overzealous prosecutors.
The mugshot is the latest chapter in a long-running feud between Trump and a pair of Georgia prosecutors, who have accused him of trying to illegally tilt the elections in his favor and stealing millions of votes from Democrats. The controversy has roiled the US politics and sparked accusations of partisanship.
While some experts believe the mugshot post will hurt Trump politically, it may drive more traffic to X and boost its advertising business. The site has already seen a user surge following Trump’s return to the app.
According to its official analytics, the photo has already been viewed over 72 million times on X and has more than 7.5 lakh likes. Trump also re-shared the post on his personal accounts and other social media platforms.
Trump has not yet been prosecuted; it is unclear when he will be released from jail. He is expected to be held without bail. The charges against him involve more than a dozen felony counts, including racketeering and conspiracy. He could face up to 30 years in prison if convicted. The prosecution is expected to present its case in the coming weeks. It’s yet to be determined if Trump will have access to a defense lawyer. He has so far declined to contribute to the legal costs of the other 19 defendants in the case.