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Friday, February 23, 2024

Former President Trump returns to Twitter, now X, with his mugshot

Former President Trump tweeted for the first time in more than two years on Thursday night, breaking a long silence on the platform, now known as X, that persisted into Elon Musk’s chaotic takeover.

Trump’s first tweet since January 8, 2021 came after he was booked in an Atlanta jail on Thursday for 13 felony charges related to election interference in the state of Georgia. The former president, who is seeking reelection in 2024, tweeted shortly after his mugshot went public, an unusual and historic moment that continues to reverberate on social media.

In the tweet, the former president directed on his more than 86 million followers on X to his WinRed fundraising page.

“Today, at the notoriously violent jail in Fulton County, Georgia, I was ARRESTED despite having committed NO CRIME,” the fundraiser reads. “… If you can, please make a contribution to evict Crooked Joe Biden from the White House and SAVE AMERICA during this dark chapter in our nation’s history.”

Trump paired the call to action with the words “ELECTION INTERFERENCE, NEVER SURRENDER!” and his own mugshot, which had already spread like wildfire on Thursday night, inspiring a deluge of memes in the process. Musk, a day after promoting Trump’s interview with former Fox News host Tucker Carlson, retweeted Trump with the words “Next-level.”

Trump posted the same message to his six million followers on Truth Social, the alternative social platform that he launched in 2022. While Trump was initially given a lifetime ban from Twitter for inciting violence during the January 6 Capitol attack, Elon Musk overturned the ban — and many others — in the course of dismantling many of the platform’s longstanding moderation policies and safety practices.

The moment that Trump chose to return to X, mugshot in tow, offers at least a few layers of situational irony. For one, Trump was obviously booted off of the platform to begin with for activity related to the charges he faces in the Georgia election meddling case. But beyond the Georgia case, Trump faces looming federal charges stemming from an investigation by Special Counsel Jack Smith, who cited the former president’s tweets widely in an indictment revealed earlier this month.

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