Donation haul underscores how Trump’s legal woes have been a fundraising boon for his election campaign.
T-shirts and hats with the mugshot of former US President Donald Trump are printed at the Y-Que store in Los Angeles, California [Mario Anzuoni/Reuters]
Former President Donald Trump‘s campaign says it raised more than $7m after he was booked at the Fulton County Jail in Atlanta, Georgia on charges he schemed to overturn the 2020 election in the state.
Since appearing on Thursday to have his mugshot taken – the first time in US history it happened to a former president – Trump raked in millions in donations, spokesperson Steven Cheung said on X, the platform formerly known as Twitter.
On Friday alone, Trump brought in $4.18m, making it the highest-grossing day of his campaign so far, Cheung said.
The record haul underscores how Trump’s legal woes have been a fundraising boon for his campaign, even as his political operation has spent tens of millions on his defence.
Mounting legal charges have also failed to dent Trump’s standing in the Republican presidential primary, with the former president now routinely beating his rivals by 30 to 50 points in polls.
While Trump described his appearance on Thursday as a “terrible experience” and said posing for the historic mugshot was “not a comfortable feeling”, his campaign immediately seized on its fundraising power.
Before he had even flown home to New Jersey, his campaign was using it in fundraising pitches to supporters.
Donald Trump surrenders in Georgia election case
Trump amplified that message both on his Truth Social site and by returning to X for the first time in two-and-a-half years to share the image and direct supporters to a fundraising page.
Within hours, the campaign released a new line of merchandise featuring the image that began with T-shirts and now includes shot glasses, mugs, bumper stickers, a signed poster and even bobblehead dolls.
The shot of Trump showed him with a red tie, glistening hair and an icy scowl.
Trump, elected president in 2016 but was defeated by Democrat Joe Biden in 2020, is again seeking the Republican Party’s nomination for president.
In the past three weeks, Trump has raised nearly $20m, a period that roughly coincides with his indictment in federal and state cases connected to his false claims that the 2020 election was stolen from him.
In January 2021, his supporters attacked the US Capitol in an attempt to overturn his election defeat.
At the same time, Trump’s political operation has been burning through tens of millions of dollars on lawyers as he battles charges in four separate jurisdictions.
A recent campaign finance filing showed while Trump raised more than $53m during the first half of 2023 – a period in which his first two criminal indictments were turned into a rallying cry that sent his fundraising soaring – his political committees have paid out at least $59.2m to about 100 lawyers and law firms since January 2021.