‘That mug shot is No. 1′: Trump says Fulton County charges boost his Black support

CHARLESTON, S.C. – Former President Donald Trump tried to rally Black voters on the eve of the South Carolina primary by linking the 91 felony charges he faces in Fulton County and other jurisdictions to systemic racism in the criminal justice system.

He told an audience of hundreds at the Black Conservative Federation on Friday that his booking photo at the Fulton County Jail has boosted his appeal with Black voters, adding that he sees some who wear T-shirts emblazoned with the photo.

“When I did the mug shot in Atlanta, that mug shot is No. 1,” Trump told the Columbia audience. “You know who embraced it more than anyone else? The Black population.”

Trump has tried to turn the criminal charges into a rallying cry, arguing in court and on the campaign trail that he’s the victim of political persecution by Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis and other prosecutors even though there is no evidence they were influenced by the White House.

“I got indicted for nothing – for something that is nothing,” he said of the indictments, which include charges in Fulton County alleging that Trump and 14 remaining co-defendants engaged in a sprawling conspiracy to subvert President Joe Biden’s 2020 victory in Georgia.

“And a lot of people said that’s why the Black people like me, because they have been hurt so badly and discriminated against, and they actually viewed me as I’m being discriminated against. It’s been pretty amazing but possibly – maybe – there’s something there.”

The remarks came hours before the South Carolina primary, where former Gov. Nikki Haley is hoping to avoid a humiliating defeat to Trump. Polls show Haley losing her home state by roughly 30 percentage points.

She told reporters Saturday his remarks were “disgusting” and emblematic of how Trump would run the country if he wins his comeback bid.

“That’s what happens when he goes off the teleprompter,” she said. “That’s the chaos that comes with Donald Trump.”

Black voters are the bulwark of the Democratic electorate in Georgia and other battleground states, and exit polls showed Biden capturing nearly 90% of the Black vote in 2020. That’s about the same proportion that backed U.S. Sen. Raphael Warnock in Georgia’s 2022 midterm.

Biden’s campaign is stepping up efforts to energize minority voters amid polls that suggest the Democrat needs to shore up support with the key constituency. The latest NBC News poll this month showed Biden with 75% support among Black voters, compared to 16% for Trump.

Biden is airing ads in Atlanta and other cities with large Black populations that seek to sharpen the contrast with Trump. Biden spokeswoman Jasmine Harris called Trump “an anti-Black tyrant” and the “proud poster boy for modern racism” ahead of the gala.

“Donald Trump has been showing Black Americans his true colors for years: An incompetent, anti-Black tyrant who holds us to such low regard that he publicly dined with white nationalists a week after declaring his 2024 candidacy.”

Sarafina Chitika of the Democratic National Committee mocked Trump’s recent foray into the sneaker business.

“This might come as news to Trump, but pushing tired tropes, wannabe Jordans and mugshot T-shirts isn’t going to win over Black voters who suffered through record high unemployment and skyrocketing uninsured rates under his leadership,” she said.

“Trump is showing Black voters exactly what he thinks of them – and his ideas to win them over are as corny and racist as he is.”