Donald Trump is said to have rehearsed his grim “mug shot face”.
The 77-year-old former US president – who has been accused of trying to overturn his electoral defeat in 2020 – was snapped by authorities after he turned himself in at the Fulton County jail in Atlanta on Thursday (24.08.23) and a behaviour expert has now said his apparently carefully pre-prepared expression was designed to show the world he “will not be cowed”.
Dr Benjamin Ruisch, a psychology lecturer at the University of Kent, carried out research into how Trump’s behaviour affects attitudes in America, and told the i newspaper it looked as if the frontrunner for the 2024 Republican nomination spent “quite a bit of time practising” his mug shot face with his campaign team.
He added: “His facial expression appears highly calculated. It’s not an ‘off-the-cuff’ expression, but rather has probably been carefully tailored to communicate a message to his base.
“(It has a) somewhat harrowed aspect to his expression – the bloodshot eyes, the slightly tousled hair – that suggests that he’s already been through hell.”
Dr Ruisch said that could also be part of an act, or due to stress.
He added the mug shot was also an “excellent opportunity” scandal-plagued Trump as it “puts him back in the spotlight, and furthers the narrative that he's being unjustly persecuted by his political opponents”.
Trump’s campaign team used the shot to start selling merchandise featuring his image and the former reality TV star has posted it in on X.
The post was Trump's first message on X since January 2021 and the message also featured a link to his official website.
His mugshot has already been attached to various bits of merchandise including T-shirts, coffee mugs and bumper stickers.
Trump and 18 co-defendants were given a Friday (25.08.23) deadline to voluntarily surrender after they were charged with trying to overturn the election result.
Earlier this month, the billionaire businessman claimed to be the victim of a political “witch hunt”.
Trump – who served as the 45th US President between 2017 and 2021 – took to social media to rubbish the allegations and to also question the integrity of the legal process.
He blasted on his Truth Social platform at the time: "So, the Witch Hunt continues! 19 people Indicated tonight, including the former President of the United States, me, by an out of control and very corrupt District Attorney who campaigned and raised money on, ‘I will get Trump.’”