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Don't fall for these fake Donald Trump mug shots. He didn't take one.
Former President Donald Trump leaves Trump Tower in New York on April 4, 2023. (AP) Former President Donald Trump leaves Trump Tower in New York on April 4, 2023. (AP)

Former President Donald Trump leaves Trump Tower in New York on April 4, 2023. (AP)

Gabrielle Settles
By Gabrielle Settles April 5, 2023

If Your Time is short

  • Former President Donald Trump did not take a mug shot during his April 4 arraignment in New York City. 

  • That did not stop social media users from sharing scores of fake mug shots that were created using artificial intelligence. 

Supposed mug shots of former President Donald Trump have circulated on social media for weeks, beginning after his March 18 Truth Social post announcing his impending arrest. In some pictures, he’s wearing an orange or black jumpsuit; in others, he wears a suit and tie. Some images show him with hair; others show him bald. 

None of them are real.

That’s because Trump took no mug shot. He turned himself in April 4 at the Manhattan Criminal Courthouse, where he was arraigned on 34 criminal charges of falsifying business records for hush money payments to adult film actor Stormy Daniels and others. Trump pleaded not guilty to all counts. He was fingerprinted. He was not handcuffed. 

The fake mug shots have been shared on many platforms, including Twitter, Facebook and TikTok. They were created using artificial intelligence programs such as Midjourney, a generator that creates images from text prompts. PolitiFact previously debunked several photos shared in March that claimed to show Trump being taken into custody or in a mug shot. 

Here are some of the fake mug shots that generated the most attention.

Roger Stone shared montage on Twitter

Shortly after Trump’s arraignment, his longtime ally and former adviser Roger Stone tweeted a montage of four AI-generated mug shots. A graphic accompanying the photos said "Donald Trump still did nothing wrong." Stone added the hashtag #Trump2024. 

The fake mug shots show random numbers and letters in the background. In these images, Trump is seen wearing a lapel pin. In real life, photos show Trump did not wear a lapel pin to his arraignment.

Trump’s campaign and others monetized fake image

According to a PolitiFact reporter who received the email, the former president’s 2024 campaign team included a fake mug shot in a donor call to action that read: "Do you stand with President Trump, Friend? Please make a contribution of $47 or more to WIN in 2024 — and we’ll send you your very own ‘NOT GUILTY’ T-Shirt for FREE." 

The T-shirt showed a photo of Trump appearing to hold a placard — in the style of mug shots — that says "President Donald J. Trump, 45-47, 04-04-2023." According to The New York Times, "45-47" refers to Trump serving as the 45th president and potentially becoming the future 47th president. 

U.S. Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene, R-Ga., who traveled with Trump to New York to protest his arraignment and flew back with him to his Mar-a-Lago estate in Florida for his speech later that night, shared a link to buy the $36 T-Shirt on her social media pages.  

"President Trump is NOT GUILTY. He is the ONLY man fighting to Make America Great Again! Stand with Trump," she wrote. 

Images shared on TikTok 

TikTok had no shortage of fake Trump mug shots, including one posted March 21. It showed a screenshot of a Twitter post with Trump in an orange jumpsuit. We traced the tweet and found that it had been shared long before Trump’s arraignment. Despite being fake, the images received thousands of interactions.

@politifact Replying to @clairsiplayspogo Don’t fall for fake mugshots of #DonaldTrump! Trump didn’t have a mugshot taken at his arraignment, but that hasn’t stopped Republicans, Democrats and even his own campaign from sharing fake images. #trump #indictment #arraignment #ai #fake #mugshot #artificialintelligence #news #factcheck #fyp #LearnOnTikTok ♬ Astro Beat - Staysee
Some Democrats shared fake images

Trump’s allies weren’t the only ones sharing the fake images. Jon Cooper, founding chairman of super political action committee The Democratic Coalition, tweeted an altered photo of Trump holding a placard in front of a height chart. "Holy s---! I can’t believe #Trumpmugshot isn’t already a hashtag!" Cooper wrote. "Please retweet it far and wide — let’s make #Trumpmugshot go viral!" 

Occupy Democrats, a liberal group with large social media followings, shared on Facebook a Twitter post that included one of the fake images and said: "On a level from 1-10 how happy are you that Trump has been arrested?" The Facebook post has received thousands of reactions and comments. 


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Our Sources

Twitter post, March 18, 2023

TikTok post, Jan. 1, 2023

Twitter post, April 4, 2023

Twitter post, March 18, 2023

Twitter post, March 31, 2023

CBS, Trump did not have a mug shot taken during his arrest, April 4, 2023

PolitiFact, Trump’s indictment, explained: Falsifying business records, prosecutors’ challenges, and what’s next, April 4, 2023

The Washington Post, How a tiny company with few rules is making fake images go mainstream, March 30, 2023

PolitiFact, These are not real photos of a Donald Trump arrest, March 20, 2023

Roger Stone, Twitter post, April 4, 2023

Forbes, Trump Surrenders At Manhattan Criminal Courthouse—And Calls Arrest ‘Surreal’ Moment, April 4, 2023

The New York Times, Without a mug shot, the Trump campaign creates one for a T-shirt, April 4, 2023

Maggie Haberman Twitter post, April 4, 2023

Marjorie Taylor Greene, Twitter post, April 4, 2023

TikTok post, March 21, 2023

Jon Cooper Twitter post, April 4, 2023

Occupy Democrats, Facebook post, April 4, 2023

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Don't fall for these fake Donald Trump mug shots. He didn't take one.