The world’s seen hundreds of thousands of pictures of Donald Trump. But this one’s different.
In Donald Trump’s mug shot taken at the Fulton County Jail on Thursday, he’s looking straight into the camera. His platinum blonde cotton candy wisp of hair shimmers in the harsh jailhouse lighting. His eyes are locked in a hard stare. His mouth is flattened in a grimace. Instead of smiling like some of his co-defendants, he appears to be scowling.
The mug shot was released by the Fulton County Sheriff’s Office roughly an hour after the former President was booked as inmate P01135809 over charges that he illegally schemed to overturn his 2020 election loss in Georgia.
Trump’s booking in Atlanta is the fourth time he’s faced criminal charges in six months, but the first time his face has been captured for the iconic symbol of a run-in with the law. In previous cases, the courts agreed Trump didn’t need to have a mug shot taken, prompting his campaign to design a fake mug shot, print it on T-shirts and offer them for sale at $36 each in an effort to galvanize his base.
Mug shots have been taken since the 1800s to help authorities identify people accused of a crime if they escape or don’t show up for court, or later, after being convicted and released, to help authorities recapture them if they’re accused of other crimes. Trump’s face is so well known, taking another image of him is hardly necessary, and authorities during his previous appearances agreed to waive the requirement. But not Fulton County, Georgia.
Speaking to reporters at the Atlanta airport after being booked, Trump said that he did “nothing wrong” and called the case a “travesty of justice.” He added: “We have every right to challenge an election we think is dishonest.”
While several of Trump’s Republican rivals for president have criticized the multiple prosecutions against him, they have also acknowledged that Joe Biden won the 2020 election.
Trump is the first President to ever pose for a mug shot. The closest history has to offer was the 1872 arrest of President Ulysses S. Grant, who was taken to a local police station in Washington, D.C. for speeding in his horse-drawn carriage. No mug shot was taken in the incident.