OPINION: This article may contain commentary which reflects the author’s opinion.
Fulton County Democratic District Attorney Fani Willis insisted that former President Donald Trump be processed like any other criminal suspect when he was booked into the county jail by the local sheriff on Thursday, and that included insisting he take a mugshot.
But it’s possible Willis and her fellow Democrats may be regretting that decision.
An NBC columnist has written that Trump’s allies saw the picture “not as a liability but as an asset, the kind of rallying cry that will help Trump lock up his party’s support and recapture the White House.”
And, according to Mediaite, within hours of the mugshot being released, Trump’s 2024 presidential campaign was fundraising off of it, including sales of merchandise like T-shirts, mugs, koozies, and bumper stickers.
Trump Never Surrender Store T shirts, Coffee Mug, Hat, Signed Poster, Beverage Coolerhttps://t.co/T0mLoeB7aw
— Trump 2024 Merchandise (@trump2024office) August 26, 2023
All of the items feature Trump’s “NEVER SURRENDER!” moniker, which he posted to X, formerly Twitter, in what became his first use of that platform since being unbanned last year following Elon Musk’s purchase.
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) August 25, 2023
Lara Trump, the former president’s daughter-in-law, told Newsmax TV she believes forcing Trump to get a mugshot is backfiring on Democrats.
“I think it’s going to backfire on them, just like everything else does,” she said. “It’s going to be on posters and people’s dorm rooms. It’s going to be on T-shirts. It is going to be a flag flown by people who love this country because they’re backing Donald Trump.”
Alina Habba, an attorney and Trump’s legal spokeswoman, agreed.
“People aren’t stupid. The mugshot was one of the best things that ever happened to him, probably,” she told Newsmax TV on Friday.
“I have spoken to President Trump, yes, he is doing fantastically and happy to put yesterday behind him, but quite honestly looking at his numbers, I mean just his one post on Twitter, what happened on Tucker (Carlson), it’s been a tremendous week for him,” she went on.
“It shows his strength and resilience, and you really can’t ignore it at this point. The more they hit him, he just comes back up stronger,” she said.
Meanwhile, a key Democratic constituency, black voters, appear to be increasingly sympathetic to Trump following his arrest.
Several videos posted online as Trump’s motorcade rolled through poorer neighborhoods in Atlanta on his way to be arrested on charges related to the aftermath of the 2020 election are likely very worrisome for Democrats.
Hundreds of Black Americans, many holding signs and wearing shirts signaling their support for the embattled former president, cheered as he went by, videos showed, with several residents explaining that they believe the charges against Trump are bogus and that he is being mistreated.
One commentator posted a 45-second TikTok video on the X platform showing mostly Black bystanders reacting with enthusiasm to Trump’s appearance in their neighborhood.
“What the media doesn’t want you to see. The people love Trump,” said the post containing the video.
What the media doesn’t want you to see. The people love Trump pic.twitter.com/h2vfdJb1rM
— 🇺🇸Travis🇺🇸 (@Travis_in_Flint) August 25, 2023
“Free Trump!” several people can be heard saying.
“Interesting reaction in Atlanta. Democrat city People screaming ‘Free Trump,’” another platform user wrote, adding: “This will backfire on Democrats.”
“Blacks for Trump” were also lined up along the street outside of the Fulton County jailhouse, other reports noted. The founder of the organization, Maurice Symonette, spoke to Rolling Out about group members showing up to support the 45th president.
“Why are you all out here in Atlanta to support Trump?” the media outlet asked.
“I’m out here today because Trump is being treated like, what they would call, a n*****,” he responded.
“So why do you think Trump is being treated like a black man?” the reporter pressed.
“Because he’s a Gentile. Noah had three sons: Shem, Ham, and Japheth. Ham is the father of all Africans. He’s the one who had the children of Israel in slavery. Japheth is the father of all white Gentiles, Genesis 10: 1-5. Shem is the father of all the black Hebrew Israelites, which is us. I’m not a Hebrew Israelite like the ones who be cussing white people out and calling them the devil,” Symonette responded.