In a lighter moment during a coronavirus update press conference, President Trump said he would look into pardoning Joe Exotic, perhaps America’s most famous inmate.
A New York Post reporter posed the pardon question after first son Donald Trump Jr. described Exotic’s 22-year prison sentence as aggressive during a SiriusXM interview. Late last month, Exotic asked President Trump to pardon him along with filing a $94 million dollar lawsuit against the feds for alleged prosecutorial overreach.
With all the grim news about COVID-19, the obviously humorous question might have been a welcome change for viewers watching at home from the usual antagonistic questioning from the relentlessly anti-Trump, self-important White House press corps.
— Reuters (@Reuters) April 9, 2020
The so-called journalists in the room have repeatedly accused the president of either doing too much or not enough in response to the pandemic.
Joe Exotic (Joseph Allen Maldonado-Passage), currently behind bars for an alleged murder-for-hire plot against a Florida-based animal rights activist as well as for alleged Endangered Species Act violations, is the main character in the hit Netflix documentary series Tiger King: Murder, Mayhem, and Madness.
The compelling seven-episode show reportedly received 34 million unique views in the first 10 days after the online streaming service released it during the national lockdown and is still maintaining its popularity among subscribers.
Given that the saga has captured the imagination of the public, at least two follow-up shows to Tiger King are in the planning stages.
The flamboyant Exotic previously owned the Greater Wynnewood Exotic Animal Park in Oklahoma which featured tigers and other “exotic” animals. His resume includes failed bids for president in 2016 and Oklahoma governor in 2018.
The president admitted he is unfamiliar with Exotic’s case and hasn’t watched the show yet. As an avid follower of the media, don’t be surprised if he finds the time to watch Tiger King at some point, however
Turning the tables on the journalists in the room as he played along, Trump couldn’t get the Post reporter or CNN’s obnoxious Jim Acosta to offer their own opinion on a potential Joe Exotic pardon.
Trump is asked about a pardon for Joe Exotic of Tiger King.
Trump: "I know nothing about it…he has 22 for what? What did he do?"
Trump to the reporter asking/explaining: "You think he didn't do it? Are you on his side? Are you recommending a pardon?"
— Daniel Dale (@ddale8) April 8, 2020
Nonetheless, Don Jr. says he was joking about a pardon and praised the reporter for not pretending it was a serious proposal.
Ok this is hilarious. Also credit to the reporter who acknowledged I was joking. Normally they know I’m joking but run with it as though I’m serious. @realDonaldTrump . “Sounds like Don… had to be Don” #TigerKing
— Donald Trump Jr. (@DonaldJTrumpJr) April 9, 2020
Tiger King, which common sense suggests is contrived to some degree to make it more dramatic, focuses on several sketchy players in the private zoo industry, with accusations of embezzlement, animal cruelty, and drug abuse in addition to the attempted murder allegation.
Some among the blue-check Twitter brigade pretended they were outraged by the question, but other social media users got the joke.
*the night before the 2020 election*
Trump: Tonight, I announce that Joe Exotic will receive a full presidential pardon. pic.twitter.com/Ja0RWLci5x
— Siraj Hashmi, fugitive from the Ern (@SirajAHashmi) April 8, 2020
The Tiger King question was still 90% more relevant than most of the things asked in that room.
— Kate Hyde (@KateHydeNY) April 8, 2020
“I wanted to be the one to ask him about Tiger King.” pic.twitter.com/Wgz9zn9spP
— Stephen L. Miller (@redsteeze) April 8, 2020
Although the exchange was obviously facetious, most fair-minded people would prefer that the president use his pardon powers on Roger Stone and Gen. Michael Flynn before he reviews Joe Exotic’s case.
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