When 2024 GOP presidential candidate Donald Trump surrendered to authorities in Georgia in connection with a Fulton County indictment last month, he became the first former president to have a mugshot released publicly.
Although Trump and his allies capitalized on the image by highlighting their claim that he is the victim of politically motivated prosecutions, many on the left seized on the mug shot in a bid to portray him as guilty before a trial has even begun.
Since then, news has surfaced that President Joe Biden’s son, Hunter Biden, appeared in court weeks earlier and authorities took a mug shot — but it has yet to be released. He had been the recipient of a lenient plea arrangement, but the deal crumbled in July, prompting his court appearance.
His mug shot was not released because it was taken in federal court, but that has not stopped critics including Jesse Watters from calling for the image to be made public. The Fox News Channel personality indicated that his team had already sent requests to both the Justice Department and U.S. Marshals Service to deliver the photograph.
“Federal inmates rarely have their mug shots released to the public,” Watters acknowledged. “Only in cases where the federal inmate escapes, and a leak would be very unlikely.”
Nevertheless, the absence of Biden’s mug shot has prompted widespread speculation.
“What is so special about a mug shot that they don’t want us to see?” Watters asked. “Did he smile? Did he look defiant? You know, in light of transparency, this mug shot must be released.”
A number of conservative officials and pundits have portrayed the situation as evidence of a two-tiered judicial system.
Left wing prosecutors forced President Trump to fly around the country for arraignments and released his mugshot.
Now, Hunter Biden is requesting to appear in court virtually and his mugshot is hidden from the public.
End this two-tiered justice system & release the mugshot!
— Rep. Claudia Tenney (@RepTenney) September 20, 2023
Meanwhile, Trump continues to make the most of his mug shot, recently asserting that it has been a net positive for his White House bid.
“The Black community is so different for me in the last — since that mug shot was taken,” he said. “I don’t know if you’ve seen the polls; my polls with the Black community have gone up four and five times.”
His son, Donald Trump Jr., further claimed that the baseless charges would likely make him more popular among Black voters who have “been dealing with this for a long time.”