NEW YORK (AP) — For former President Donald Trump, a picture is worth... more than $7 million.
Trump's campaign says he has raised $7.1 million since Thursday when he was booked at the Fulton County Jail in Georgia on charges that he illegally schemed to overturn the 2020 election in the state and became the first former president in U.S. history to ever have a mug shot taken.
Spokesman Steven Cheung said that, on Friday alone, the campaign brought in $4.18 million — its highest-grossing day to date.
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 defense. The 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 Thursday as a “terrible experience” and said posing for the historic mug shot 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. Trump amplified that message both on his Truth Social site and by returning to X, the site formerly known as Twitter, 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 had also released a new line of merchandise featuring the image that began with t-shirts and now includes beer Koozies, bumper stickers, a signed poster, bumper stickers and mug shot mugs.
Cheung said that contributions from those who had purchased merchandise or donated without prompting skyrocketed, especially after Trump's tweet.
The new contributions, he said, had helped push the campaign's fundraising haul over the last three weeks to close to $20 million. Trump in early August was indicted in Washington on felony charges related to his efforts to overturn the results of the 2020 election in the run-up to the violent riot by his supporters at the U.S. Capitol.
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. Recent campaign finance filing showed that, while Trump raised over $53 million 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 $59.2 million to more than 100 lawyers and law firms since January 2021.
Jill Colvin, The Associated Press