Donald Trump, mugshot, PO1135809
The mugshot of ‘Inmate No. PO1135809,’ aka Donald J. Trump, from Fulton County, GA. Photo credit: Fulton County Sheriff's Office / Wikimedia

The image of the former president symbolizes so much about this moment in time — the underlying crime, the circus surrounding the day it was taken, the cultishness of the MAGA movement, and the man who is at the center of it.

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Following Donald Trump’s booking for trying to overturn the will of Georgia’s voters, the mug shot of the former president quickly made its way around the world. His supporters made it the image of their social media profiles, it already adorns t-shirts and (fittingly) mugs, and it will undoubtedly be turned into a variety of memes soon.

However, the photo is about much more than selling trinkets, showing allegiance to one man, or poking fun at him.

More importantly, it is a snapshot that symbolizes so much about this moment in time — the underlying crime, the circus surrounding the day it was taken, the cultishness of the MAGA movement, and the man who is at the center of it.

First, let’s look at what Trump is accused of: subverting democracy. While it is very clear that this is what he did, the justice system now has to determine whether he can actually be held to account for it.

The former president is going to try to delay proceedings as much as he can, but, ultimately, he is going to see the inside of a courthouse. And then we will learn whether it is illegal to stage a coup in the United States.

It certainly seems as though it ought to be… especially when there is so much evidence and a lot of it happened in plain sight.

However, it is also true that many of the participants in that attempted coup have escaped accountability so far. Sure, 1,000 or so of the foot troops who stormed the Capitol have been sentenced, but not the people who plotted it.

The “fake electors” and those who came up with that scheme, the people who relentlessly pushed the Big Lie, and, of course, the former president himself, have yet to be held to account. In order to discourage this kind of thing in the future, all of them should be charged.

Then there is the circus surrounding the arrest.

The media, inexplicably, keeps catering to Trump’s need for attention. That means too much wall-to-wall coverage, beginning with his departure to Atlanta (in a motorcade fit for multiple kings), and not enough plain talk telling viewers what exactly is going on here.

Any news organization that is not using the word “coup” constantly to describe what Trump did is failing at its job.

Which brings us to how Trump’s lawlessness and his attempts to overthrow the duly elected government are portrayed in the MAGAverse.

Here, even among the law-and-order types, the former president is celebrated for what he did.

Not only are his various crimes tolerated, the rule of law is attacked at every turn, and the perpetrator becomes the victim.

Naturally, Trump is loving every minute of it. The pomp, the adulation, the ability to wring a few more dollars out of his adoring fans. There is no introspection or contrition.

And, of course, nothing involving the former president would be complete without a massive lie. In this case, Trump checked into the Fulton County Jail at 6’3” and 215 lbs. As various others have pointed out, that would give him the same body type as various NFL quarterbacks.

And, because a picture does say more than 1,000 words, former NBA player Rex Chapman posted a photo of himself, saying only that he is 6’3” and 215 lbs, so you can judge for yourself.


  • Klaus Marre

    Klaus Marre is a senior editor for Politics and director of the Mentor Apprentice Program at WhoWhatWhy. Follow him on Twitter @KlausMarre.

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