Former President Donald Trump has turned a modern-day McCarthyite prosecution into an iconic moment of defiance.
Arrested, booked and photographed at a jail in Fulton County, Georgia, on Thursday evening, Trump managed to turn that ostensible defeat into a resounding victory as his supporters rallied around him.
Meanwhile, the mugshot appeared on Trump’s online fundraising platform, along with a “personal note” from the former president.
“The American people know what’s going on. What has taken place is a travesty of justice and ELECTION INTERFERENCE,” Trump wrote.
“Today, I walked into the lion’s den with one simple message on behalf of our entire movement: I WILL NEVER SURRENDER OUR MISSION TO SAVE AMERICA.”
Then the former president added what is sure to land as an expression of remarkable empathy amid his ongoing ordeal.
“If you are doing poorly due to the sinister people in control of our country right now, don’t even think about donating!” Trump wrote in italics.
At a time when Oliver Anthony’s viral anthem “Rich Men North of Richmond” is topping music charts, this kind of statement will further endear the former president to his working-class supporters.
Empathy appeals to everyone on a basic level, but when coupled with defiant courage, it becomes irresistible.
At 9:38 p.m. on Thursday, in his first post since Jan. 8, 2021, Trump used his mugshot to announce his return to X, formerly Twitter.
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) August 25, 2023
Even Elon Musk was impressed.
“Next-level,” the platform’s owner tweeted.
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) August 25, 2023
Colin Rugg, co-owner of the conservative news site Trending Politics, called Trump’s move a “legendary energy shift.”
Imagine indicting Donald Trump three times, hyping the fourth indictment up to be the best one yet, finally getting to be able to get a mugshot of the former president, releasing the mugshot…
…and then Trump throws the mugshot in a fundraising email, comes back to X and steals… pic.twitter.com/OLorOrG8UT
— Collin Rugg (@CollinRugg) August 25, 2023
Perhaps the most important observation, however, came from Dinesh D’Souza.
“A mugshot can be a badge of honor. Solzhenitsyn had one. Gandhi. Mandela. And this guy!” the conservative filmmaker tweeted. D’Souza included a jailhouse photograph of “this guy”: Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.
— Dinesh D’Souza (@DineshDSouza) August 24, 2023
In the spring of 1963, King led a peaceful protest against segregation in Birmingham, Alabama. As a result of his defiance, the legendary civil rights leader landed in prison, where he wrote his celebrated “Letter from a Birmingham Jail.”
King’s mugshot, therefore, reminds us of the lengths to which desperate regimes will go to eliminate perceived threats.
Trump’s arrest in Fulton County, where King lived and served as pastor of Atlanta’s Ebenezer Baptist Church, produces similar reflections.
At the moment King sat in that Birmingham jail, his most triumphant moments lay ahead of him.
With this in mind, perhaps the mugshot seen ’round the world will help the 45th president save his country.
This article appeared originally on The Western Journal.