Donald Trump’s bizarre coronavirus briefings continued yesterday with the president saying he would “look into” a pardon for Joe Exotic, the subject of Netflix’s breakout hit Tiger King. The show documented the gay former roadside zoo owner’s madness and downfall.
Exotic, imprisoned for hiring a hit man to kill animal rights activist Carole Baskin, is serving a 22-year sentence and has asked Trump for a pardon.
While the show insinuates that Exotic – real name Joseph Maldonado-Passage – could have been framed by a rival in the exotic animal trade, his other convictions for animal abuse and Endangered Species Act violations are not disputed.
The flim-flam showman has been frequently compared to the president. They are both compulsive liars and business cheats with a penchant for bitter grudges against perceived enemies.
Trump has bragged about the “ratings” for his coronavirus briefings and used the opportunity to promote a malaria drug that hasn’t been shown to be effective against the virus. Trump has a financial stake in the drug’s manufacturer.
After New York Post reporter Steven Nelson asked Trump about a tweet from his son, Donald Trump Jr., advocating for a pardon for the former “petting zoo” owner, Trump admitted he hadn’t seen the show.
Who knows why the reporter was using his access to the president to inquire about a television show instead of the global pandemic, but it’s 2020 and that’s what we’re doing now.
“I know nothing about it,” Trump said. “Twenty-two years for what? What did he do?”
After the reporter explained the charges, Trump asked, “You think he didn’t do it? Are you on his side? Are you recommending a pardon?”
When the reporter said he wasn’t, Trump replied, “As a reporter, you’re not allowed to do that. You’d be criticized by these…” as he waved around the room at other journalists.
“Would you recommend a pardon?” he asked another reporter.
“I’m not weighing in on Tiger King,” the journalist replied.
“I didn’t think you would,” Trump replied before moving on to the next question.
— Aaron Rupar (@atrupar) April 8, 2020