Whadda Mug

After months of anticipation, some fakes, some parodies, and threats of mugshot merch for the MAGAs, last night the Fulton County Jail dropped one of the most anticipated mugshots of all time.

It was, in a word, something.

It is fairly well-known in political circles that Trump scowls and squints in some of his photos because he thinks it makes him look like Winston Churchill. No, really. I think that the mugshot makes him look like he was just told they are out of Extra Crispy at KFC. But your mileage may vary. There is also the likelihood that this is some sort of twisted message that he will make everyone who does not own a MAGA hat pay for this.

Another fun-ish sideshow was lots of speculation about Trump’s weight, as his crazy former doctor would report his weight as a number no one believed while he was president, ranging from 235 to 243. His height was reported last night as 6’3″ and his weight was reported as 215, which brought howls of derision on social media about Georgia prison scales until it became known that the weight was self-reported. So everyone did the most logical thing and assumed that was a complete lie given this is Trump we are talking about.

Also of note and likely more important, Trump used the mugshot to make his grand return to TwitterX.

Inmate P01135809 (his assigned inmate number) did not make his grand return to TwitterX at this time to show some love for his Partner In Mind, Elon Musk, but instead, you guessed it, to raise money. The fundraising grift is the most prominent part of his campaign homepage because of course it is. Along with trying to intimidate people, that is what the mugshot was all about to Trump, and no doubt he will sell t-shirts of it.

His supporters will proudly buy and fly, wear, and drink from the mugshot merch. As I wrote about earlier this week, his supporters are not reasoned people. His supporters, such as the man who brought us the concept of “political correctness,” Dinesh D’souza, are out there comparing Trump’s mugshot to this one:

To Trump’s supporters and any centrist dipshit desperate to make all of this a “both-sides” issue (I am sure there are certain New York Times writers trying to do that right now), the difference between that mugshot and Trump’s is that particular person was arrested fighting to offer the same kind of freedom to all Americans, not just people of a single race. Trump got his mugshot for trying to overthrow our system of democracy. There really is a clear difference.

It is remarkable to me that there are still people who balk at suggestions that supporting Trump is some kind of personal flaw, that they are still being fooled and in the temporary sway of a manipulative madman. But they love Trump for the same reason they loved Michelle Bachman more than 10 years ago. He exemplifies the amount of hate that they hold for anyone who is not like them, whether that be an outspoken Black person, an LGBTQ+ person, a 10-year-old rape victim, etc. Like the phrase that writer Adam Serwer coined, the cruelty is the point. Trump’s cruelty, his meanness, his proud ignorance, all of it, speaks to these people at a very deep level.

Sure, a Trump voter may help you fix your flat tire, let you borrow a garden tool, and be okay to talk to at a deck party, but this has limits. At a certain level, that all becomes overshadowed. If you are a liberal clinging to the idea that your MAGA neighbor isn’t crazy, do know that he/she is sharing memes on social media about how fun it would be to kill you, and he will find Trump’s glowering mugshot inspiring. MLK spoke about this constantly, about how a shallow understanding by people of goodwill is much worse than a deep misunderstanding by people of ill will.

This is not to say the rest of the country needs to support things like cutting off healthcare funding and other forms of government assistance to white rural red areas. But we have to acknowledge what we are dealing with, and the excitement and “hot damn!” enthusiasm about Trump’s mugshot not as a symbol of justice but as a thrilling act of defiance for a movement based in hate is yet another example of something we cannot ignore. These people, at least right now, cannot be reached and they make up the majority of the Republican Party.

So for the first time in American history, a former president has a mugshot. That is something celebrated only as encouragement that the rule of law may actually work this time.

The last word goes to comedian Rita Brent, with The Trump Mugshot Song.

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