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Trump’s Mug Shot, Uncle Sam, and Churchill

Trump’s Mug Shot, Uncle Sam, and Churchill

Three portraits with a message

Trump’s mugshot was meant to deeply humiliate him, something the left has been hoping for during all the years of Trump’s presidency and beyond. Now that the photo has been released, the left has been chortling with vengeful glee. They seem to think that Wile E. Coyote has finally caught the Road Runner, and the mugshot is the proof.

However, Trump has long been the consummate showman. He knows the mugshot’s value and had some ideas of his own about what he wanted the photo to convey:

As Professor Jacobson wrote:

The reaction among OnlyTrump supporters on social media is nothing short of euphoric, they see in that image victory to come for someone falsely accused … NeverTrump haters … see the opposite, a criminal rightly accused who is dangerous …

… [Among] people who are neither OnlyTrump nor NeverTrump … I think the reactions may be more mixed. Clearly, a desire for retribution is in his eyes — deliberately — but whether that is what people want in a general election candidate is the wild card.

And what was my reaction to the Trump mugshot? I have little doubt that Trump carefully planned his expression and meant it to send a message. To me, it immediately conjured up this image from the past:

The Uncle Sam poster was used for recruitment during the two world wars, a rallying cry for patriotism and unity in a cause. I very much assume Trump adopted a similar expression—even to the eyebrows—consciously and purposely, although perhaps many people will receive the message only subliminally.

I also have no doubt much money will be made off it in the form of T-shirts and the like, perhaps by both sides.

But Trump’s expression also reminded me of another iconic and defiant image, and I believe the resemblance to that one is purposeful and planned as well. The image that came to my mind is the famous Karsh portrait of Churchill (it can be found here).

It was taken in 1941 and is known as ‘The Roaring Lion’ photo:

The photograph was shot on December 30, 1941, in the Speaker’s Chamber of the Canadian Speaker of the House of Commons at Parliament in Ottawa after Churchill delivered his “Some chicken, some neck” speech on World War II to Canadian members of parliament.

Churchill is particularly noted for his posture and facial expression, likened to the wartime feelings that prevailed in the UK—persistence in the face of an all-conquering enemy. The photo session was only to last two minutes. Karsh asked the prime minister to put down his cigar, as the smoke would interfere with the image. Churchill refused, so just before taking the photograph, Karsh quickly moved toward the prime minister and said, “Forgive me, sir,” while snatching the cigar from his subject’s mouth. Karsh said, “By the time I got back to the camera, he looked so belligerent, he could have devoured me”. His scowl has been compared to “a fierce glare as if confronting the enemy”. Following the taking of the photo, Churchill stated, “You can even make a roaring lion stand still to be photographed,” thus giving the picture its notable name.

Note also that in his Twitter (X) message that contains the mugshot, Trump wrote “NEVER SURRENDER!,” which is a quote from Churchill’s “Finest Hour” speech, given in the House of Commons after Dunkirk on June 4, 1940:

We shall go on to the end, we shall fight in France, we shall fight on the seas and oceans, we shall fight with growing confidence and growing strength in the air, we shall defend our Island, whatever the cost may be, we shall fight on the beaches, we shall fight on the landing grounds, we shall fight in the fields and in the streets, we shall fight in the hills; we shall never surrender …

We are not in an actual hot war on the domestic front. But we are in a fight against the left for the continuation of the republic as we’ve known it. Trump is well aware of that; he knows what’s at stake. He said it quite some time ago, in December of 2019, also on Twitter. Note the expression on his face; it’s almost identical to the mug shot, and here the reference to the Uncle Sam poster is even clearer, because he includes the pointing finger:

So, what happens now? Will most people just accept the banana-republicization of our country? I don’t know. I think everyone in America should be outraged at the lawfare mounted against both Trump and his lawyers, but the sentiment is by no means universal. I also strongly believe that the activist left is very much hoping for some violence from the right, so that they can crack down on them even further.

And what am I hoping for? I’m hoping that this latest leftist enterprise wakes enough people up to what’s really happening, and the left loses power as a result—even though leftists clearly seem to think that they will never lose power again.

[Neo is a writer with degrees in law and family therapy, who blogs at the new neo.]


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Could do worse than be compared to Uncle Sam and Churchill.

Yes, let’s hope enough people wake up to what is happening around us.

2smartforlibs | August 27, 2023 at 12:31 pm

Churchhill had a front page photo that would be more fitting just not more appropriate.

I could have hoped for a military coup and junta until fair and secure elections could be restored.

    Subotai Bahadur in reply to MrE. | August 27, 2023 at 6:37 pm

    With today’s “woke” and PC military?

    Subotai Bahadur

    CaptTee in reply to MrE. | August 29, 2023 at 3:16 pm

    Military coup? Not likely. Our military doesn’t do coup d’ etats in our country.

    Just before Nixon resigned, there were rumors and orders came dow the chain of command reminding everyone to only take orders through the normal chain of command.

As I said before == he has SIngletary eyes.

Dave Chapelle gets gets it and HE name’s President Trump the Honest Lion!

Barbara Tuchman, American historian:


The Brits?

No nation has ever produced a military history of such verbal nobility as the British. Retreat or advance, win or lose, blunder or bravery, murderous folly or unyielding resolution, all emerge alike clothed in dignity and touched with glory.

Every engagement is gallant, every battle a decisive action. There is no shrinking from superlatives: every campaign produces a general or generalship hailed as the most brilliant of the war. Everyone is splendid: soldiers are staunch, commanders are cool, the fighting magnificent.

Whatever the fiasco, aplomb is unbroken. Mistakes, failures, stupidities or other causes of disaster mysteriously vanish.

Disasters are recorded with care and pride and become transmuted into things of beauty. Official histories record every move in monumental and infinite detail but the details serve to obscure. Why Singapore fell or how the Sittang happened remains shrouded.

Other nations attempt but never quite achieve the same self-esteem. It was not by might but by the power of her self-image that Britain in her century dominated the world. That this was irrecoverable (and that no successor would inherit it) was not yet clear in 1944.”

    thad_the_man in reply to Tiki. | August 27, 2023 at 2:03 pm

    Is that from the Guns of August?

      It may be from Guns of August or Stilwell and the American Experience in China. Likely the latter.

        Tiki in reply to Tiki. | August 27, 2023 at 8:53 pm

        To buttress Tuchman:


        In his dispatch of 6th January 1916 Sir Ian Hamilton tells us that early
        in July 1915 he was fully aware […]

        Excerpt From
        The Children’s Story of the War, Volume 4
        Public domain book at Faded Page, Canada.

If he’s after retribution, that’s no good. The look is also compatible with meaning to take out the corruption in the system, though.

It strikes me that all those Confederate statues and memorials were part of reconciliation, and the left decided no more reconciliation.

Nevertheless reconciliation is the only way to fix things, part of which is not retribution.

It’s the left that wants to kill the other side.

    JohnSmith100 in reply to rhhardin. | August 27, 2023 at 6:10 pm

    I cannot help but think that actual traitors and ringleaders of schemes to deprive everyone of their civil liberates must be held accountable. Average people who were simply duped should not be. It is likely that as wrongs are addressed, especially as they relate handouts that never should have been given, that former recipients will view that as retribution.

“Trump wrote “NEVER SURRENDER!,” which is a quote from Churchill’s “Finest Hour” speech”
Nah, pretty sure it was Tim Allen in Galaxy Quest.

    Concise in reply to henrybowman. | August 27, 2023 at 3:55 pm

    You should have taken Mark Twain’s advise and remained silent.

    GravityOpera in reply to henrybowman. | August 27, 2023 at 4:12 pm

    The irony of adding the caption of “NEVER SURRENDER” to a picture that was only taken because he literally surrendered to the government is incredible.

      Petrushka in reply to GravityOpera. | August 27, 2023 at 4:19 pm

      He just needs a minute to put it in a box.

      Concise in reply to GravityOpera. | August 27, 2023 at 4:55 pm

      He didn’t surrender you clod troll. He’s fighting the charges.

        GravityOpera in reply to Concise. | August 27, 2023 at 5:42 pm

        So Trump did not surrender himself to Fulton County Jail for booking? That’s awesome! If Trump made them come arrest him by force then I would be shocked.

          Concise in reply to GravityOpera. | August 27, 2023 at 6:26 pm

          I’d also advise you to follow Twain’s advice to remain silent but you’re too far down the fool road to turn back now. So you’ve got nothing to lose by displaying more obnoxious idiocy.

          henrybowman in reply to GravityOpera. | August 28, 2023 at 4:26 pm

          He was considering it, until Melania told him the locksmith wasn’t finished installing her new underwear drawer.

      DaveGinOly in reply to GravityOpera. | August 27, 2023 at 7:14 pm

      It seems you have a misunderstanding about how our judicial system works. It’s an adversarial system in which the antagonists must conduct certain pro forma preliminaries before the actual engagement. “Surrender” in this context is one of the opening moves of that engagement. Actual “surrender” in a judicial context would be a guilty plea. In this situation, “surrender” only means “the game’s afoot.”

        GravityOpera in reply to DaveGinOly. | August 27, 2023 at 8:58 pm

        The definition matches perfectly to being booked into jail without being physically dragged in.

        – to yield to the power, control, or possession of another upon compulsion or demand
        – to give (oneself) up into the power of another especially as a prisoner
        – the action of yielding one’s person … into the power of another
        from Merriam-Webster

    I was scrolling down to make the same comment.

    /in a Thermian voice/
    Never give up! Never surrender!

    And you got all sorts of downvotes. 🙁
    Probably from people assuming you were mocking Trump.

If republicans would loudly and uniformly oppose this police state corruption, I believe it could be defeated, and even draw in some democrat voters repulsed by what their party has metastasized into. But too many republicans are willing to turn a blind eye for whatever reason. Some see it as a convenient means to get rid of a candidate they don’t favor; others see him as a political interloper threatening their money or power base; some just have an irrational dislike of President Trump.

    GravityOpera in reply to Concise. | August 27, 2023 at 5:54 pm

    Your unstated premise is that supporting Trump’s electoral ambitions are the only way to oppose “this police state corruption.” This premise is false. He isn’t even the most effective option.

    There are plenty of rational reasons to dislike and distrust Trump.

      Concise in reply to GravityOpera. | August 27, 2023 at 6:29 pm

      No it isn’t and I didn’t say that foolish troll. I said oppose this police state corruption. It seems you have reading comprehension problems also. I kind of feel sorry for you.

        GravityOpera in reply to Concise. | August 27, 2023 at 9:02 pm

        Me: Your unstated…
        You: I didn’t state that.

          Concise in reply to GravityOpera. | August 27, 2023 at 9:36 pm

          “No it isn’t” concerned what, do you think? It concerned your silly, intentional troll misinterpretation of my supposed “unstated premise.” The following statement simply restated in short form what I did say. You really need to tone done the stupid troll. You’re making other stupid trolls look a little smarter.

        GravityOpera in reply to Concise. | August 28, 2023 at 2:17 am

        Two-thirds of your accusations were regarding Trump’s candidacy. If that was just a coincidence then I apologize.

The comparison photos you offer are torso-up or knee-up and offer additional cues in posture, body language, and gestures. The mugshot is limited to the head and without that extra context is far weaker and more ambiguous.

The fact of the matter is that our own government has become the enemy of the people.
They are not just persecuting Trump, they are persecuting everyone who made their choice in the voting booth for someone they dislike with a pathological intensity.
Why should we be “disallowed” from voting for whomsoever we choose?
Their utter disregard for the Rule
Of Law and basically the entire Constitution (unless they can use it to conveniently serve their evil purposes), makes THEM enemies of the State.
We are in a fight for the saving of this Republic from a diabolical criminal class, who hate this country and all it has stood for.
That is undeniable.

    Absolutely agree. I hate what is happening to our country with this utter BS persecution and prosecutions of Trump. It’s unacceptable and wrong.

    But this feverish dream that Trump will somehow be treated differently by the deep state or dems or the GOP is . . . a feverish dream. He can’t win, first of all, but second, even if he did, he’s clueless and weak. He listens to the wrong people because he is too stupid to hire picks that support his agenda.

    Most of his own freaking picsk undermined him, right? Trump wanted (correctly) to open by Easter, but he didn’t. He was worried, get this, about media blowback.

    So all of America suffers, our economy suffers, our kids suffer, but hey, Trump avoided a negative headline for a day? Yay!?

      Again, you’re focusing only on Trump.
      What’s happening is so far beyond the man – he is merely the symbol casting in sharp relief the aims of a beyond corrupt government who will crush whoever dares to even so much as disagree with them.
      That is the battle set before us.
      Like flight United 93 on 9/11, our lawless government has taken over the pilots cabin and want to crash the ship of state. It’s high time we remember those words of that brave group who died to save the country they believed in: “Let’s Roll!”

        henrybowman in reply to DelightLaw1. | August 28, 2023 at 4:34 pm

        “Focusing on Trump,” in view of the contingent that believes only Trump can eliminate that corruption.

        Trump is not uniquely necessary to the process, and his own first term shows that he is almost certainly not sufficient for it.

        Trump did a lot of great things in office. But not one of them attacked or even inconvenienced the swamp in the least. The swamp ate him up, and is now chewing him to small pieces.

          Trump has always relied on having (at some point) enough resources to overcome obstacles in his path. (Sometimes the ability to schmooze has obviated the need for the other. He’s good at what he does.) Unfortunately, he has now riled a hornet’s nest that actually can bring more resources to bear than he has ever imagined.

          (The first statement is not a bash on Trump. Merely a statement based on what I’ve seen with his history.)