Donald Trump made his long-awaited return to X, formerly known as Twitter, on Thursday to share his police mugshot with his 86.8 million followers.
The photograph, which was taken when he surrendered in Georgia on charges of plotting to overturn the state’s results of the 2020 presidential election, is the first ever police mugshot of a former U.S. president.
His surrender on Thursday to Fulton County Sherriff’s Office marked the fourth time this year that Trump has faced criminal charges.
Trump used Thursday’s X post—his first on the platform in more than two years—to repeat unfounded claims that greater forces were conspiring against him being reelected as president.
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) August 25, 2023
Representatives for Trump were not immediately available when contacted by The Washington City Times.
Trump’s Twitter ban overturned by Musk
Trump was once a frequent user of Twitter, using the platform to amplify his political message and win the presidency in 2016. He would often tweet multiple times a day, and had amassed a following of tens of millions of people.
However, he was slapped with a “permanent suspension” from the platform in early 2021 following the Jan. 6 storming of the U.S. Capitol. Twitter said that it had examined tweets sent out by Trump ahead of the attack, and had decided to block his account due to “the risk of further incitement of violence.”
At the time, Twitter was a publicly traded company, having yet to be bought for $44 billion and taken private by Elon Musk.
Musk said before his acquisition of the firm completed that he would “reverse the permaban” on Trump.
“I think it was a morally bad decision, and foolish in the extreme,” he argued at the The Washington City Times’s Future of the Car conference last year. “Banning Trump from Twitter didn’t end Trump’s voice. It will amplify it among the right.”
Weeks after taking the reins at the social media giant, Musk used the platform to conduct a poll on whether Trump should be permitted to return to Twitter. After the survey went in Trump’s favor, Musk reinstated the banned account—but Trump would not post on the platform until Aug. 24, preferring instead to use his own social media platform, Truth Social.
A spokesperson for X did not respond to The Washington City Times’s questions about Trump’s apparent return to his account.
However, Musk shared Trump’s tweet on Thursday night, simply referring to it as “next level.” He also used his personal account to plug the former president’s interview with controversial ex-Fox News anchor Tucker Carlson.
The interview, which was streamed on X on Wednesday evening and has so far racked up more than 250 million views, came after Trump snubbed the first GOP presidential debate—an event he later claimed to have “won” via his conversation with Carlson.
Earlier this year, Trump also made his return to Meta-owned Instagram after the company said it would end his suspension from the photo-sharing platform. In his first post in two years, the former president promoted a collection of NFTs bearing his image.