Maggie Haberman said Trump made a "menacing" face in his mugshot to dispel any notion of weakness.
"That does not mean he's enjoying any of this. This is a serious thing," she told CNN's Jake Tapper.
The Trump campaign on Saturday announced that they have raised $7.1 million since Thursday.
New York Times reporter Maggie Haberman last week said that there was a clear reason why former President Donald Trump gave such a hard stare in the mugshot taken after he turned himself in at the Fulton County Jail in Atlanta: his refusal to project any form of weakness.
Haberman, who wrote the book "Confidence Man" and documented Trump's tenure in the White House more extensively than probably any other working journalist, told CNN anchor Jake Tapper that while the former president had made a similar face in public before, he wanted to make a point regarding his most recent indictment regarding his election interference case in Georgia.
"It isn't just that he wants to look menacing, which is certainly true, and he has made that kind of face in photos for years and years and years," Haberman said. "He doesn't want to look weak, and that's what that's about."
"Circulating the mug shot, fundraising off of it, owning it, using it for press ― that's all part of a playbook that we have seen him use over and over again," she said. "But that does not mean he's enjoying any of this. This is a serious thing. He is facing serious jail time."
Trump has used his four indictments and the mugshot as a rallying cry to his supporters as he remains the clear favorite in the 2024 Republican presidential race.
Last week, Trump posted on X, the social media platform formerly known as Twitter, for the first time since January 2021. (Trump has been using Truth Social since being deplatformed by Twitter in 2021; X Corp. chairman Elon Musk subsequently restored the former president's account last November.)
Politico first reported on Saturday that the Trump campaign has raised $7.1 million since he was booked in Atlanta and had his mugshot taken by law enforcement last Thursday.
Tapper then asked Haberman if she could explain how Trump seeking to overturn his 2020 presidential loss in Georgia and pressing Gov. Brian Kemp and Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger to help him overturn the results didn't project weakness.
"In his mind, he didn't concede," she said. "And that has been how he has operated, for decade after decade after decade, through business failures, through bankruptcies of his casinos, through losses, through products failing, through divorces."
"It is all been, if you pretend it is not happening, if you create your own reality, if you don't give in to what other people are acknowledging as objective reality, then, maybe it really isn't there," she continued. "And he is somebody, who does not think in terms of long-term strategy. He thinks in very short increments of time. And it's all about just getting from one post to another. And so, that is how somebody thinks like that."
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