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    Trump’s mug shot ‘shows sickness of US politics, to further polarize society’

    Former US President Donald Trump waves before boarding his personal plane at Miami International Airport, June 13, 2023, in Miami. Photo: VCG

    With the 2024 president election approaching, the frontrunner for the Republican nomination Donald Trump made history once again, as he became the first former US president to pose for a mug shot, after turning himself in to a jail in Atlanta on Thursday. Analysts believed that the incident is unlikely to hurt Trump’s 2024 prospects, but will further polarize a country in chaos.   

    Trump surrendered on Thursday (local time) at the Fulton County jail on multiple charges stemming from his efforts to overturn his 2020 election defeat in Georgia, according to Fox News. It’s the fourth time this year the former president has faced criminal charges.

    According to US media, Trump was fingerprinted and had his mug shot taken. The former US president spent a little more than 20 minutes at the Fulton County jail, where he was processed and released on a $200,000 bond, CNN reported. 

    Trump, who is currently leading the GOP nomination race by a wide margin, skipped the debate for the Republican primaries on Wednesday. His historic mug shot and his return to X (formerly Twitter) have put the public focus on other events. 

    Trump’s mug shot quickly circulated online, particularly after the former US president posted on his own X account the words “election interference” and “never surrender!” Trump’s first ever tweet since January 8 2021 drew 76 million views, 800,000 likes and 140,000 comments in six hours after it was released. 

    Although the potential Republican nominee and possible next president is facing 91 criminal charges across four cases, analysts believe that it won’t hurt Trump’s election prospects or politics status. Meanwhile, T-shirts and other merchandise featuring Trump’s mug photo have started going on sale, according to US media. 

    According to the Guardian, Trump’s facial expression on the photo conveyed a message of hostility and belligerence, a signal to supporters ahead of the election.

    According to Stephen Collinson from CNN, Trump’s mug shot “represents a special kind of tragedy for a nation “still entangled in recriminations and fury whipped up by Trump.” 

    As for Trump’s supporters, it will “enshrine his status as a living political martyr” on which his bid to regain the White House is rooted… His campaign is already turning his shame into a new kind of power, in another affront to the justice system, Collinson said. 

    Li Haidong, a professor at the China Foreign Affairs University, told the Global Times on Friday that Trump’s mug photo and its fallout would further polarize US society, just like Trump has done in the past few years. 

    “For China, it’s a funny episode in US politics to watch, as the sickness of US politics is presented to the world in a vivid and impressive way,” Li siad, “US politics is getting more extreme and more irrational, but unfortunately, what seems crazy in other countries will become more common in US politics.” 

    Sun Chenghao, a research fellow from the Center for International Security and Strategy at Tsinghua University, told the Global Times that the legal and political offensive against Trump is comprehensive, and the Trump team’s approach has been an effective response.

    “As the election season approaches, polarization and hostility in American society are amplified,” Sun said, “candidates attack and suppress each other by taking advantage of systems, making the election a game of ‘picking the least bad one,’ instead of choosing a truly qualified leader.” 

    It indicates that some alienation has resulted in the design of the American political system, Sun said.  

    According to the expert, many Republican voters also believe that American politics itself is corrupt or ineffectual, and that the charges against Trump are politically motivated. 

    Either indulging or punishing Trump in accordance with the law would bring more chaos and division to the US, which makes the tradeoff between law and politics a massive challenge, Li said. 



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