United States: how Donald Trump seeks to profit from his “mug shot”

It was with a closed face and frowning eyebrows that Donald Trump was submitted this Thursday to a photo ID for forensics in an Atlanta prison. A ” mugshot posted on X (formerly Twitter) with the message “Never surrender! “, an illustration of his desire to fight what he considers to be a “witch hunt” orchestrated by current President Joe Biden.

This photo was eagerly awaited in the United States because “many thought that Donald Trump would hold a sign with his identification number”, according to Jean-Éric Branaa, lecturer at the University of Paris 2 and specialist in the United States. Widely commented on by the American media and social networks, it is its modern side that surprised local public opinion and the fact that Donald Trump “does not look like a prisoner”, he adds. Such a photo could annihilate the ambitions of any candidate. Trump, on the other hand, seeks to take advantage of it.

“Tyranny of Joe Biden”

The expression of the face of the former tenant of the White House has also been much commented on, in particular his gaze. “For Donald Trump activists, it is “a look of defiance turned towards what he considers the tyranny of Joe Biden”. For his opponents, they see “the face of a man who is ashamed and who does not dare to smile”, says Jean-Éric Branaa.

Entangled in many procedures, Donald Trump is looking for the parade. The date of January 2, 2024 had been proposed to judge his alleged attempts to reverse the results of the last presidential election, i.e. a few days before the Republican primary. The former president does not want to hear about it. Wish him a postponement of the trial after the November 2024 presidential election. “He wants to delay legal proceedings as much as possible to benefit from presidential immunity in the event of re-election”, explains Marie-Cécile Naves, research director at the Institute of International and Strategic Relations (IRIS).

But the idea of ​​seeing Donald Trump appear in court between two meetings is far from unimaginable for Célia Belin, researcher specializing in the United States. “Nothing prevents it. He cannot hope to solve his legal problems before the start of the primary nor postpone them after his election, ”she says.

A timing problem that could turn into a political opportunity for anyone who claims to be the victim of a political plot. A cabal which would therefore be illustrated by the photo taken in prison. Donald Trump knows that “this speech resonates with his electoral base”, according to Marie-Cécile Naves. “His most fervent activists will follow him no matter what,” she says. “He is so far ahead of his competitors that he hardly needs to campaign,” says Jean-Éric Branaa. He will repeat that he is attacked by the system and arrive in the primary with a high popularity rating. »

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