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Donald Trump joked that he’ll “look into” a pardon for Joe Exotic at coronavirus briefing

President Donald Trump and jailed former "zookeeper" Joe Exotic
President Donald Trump and jailed former "zookeeper" Joe Exotic Photo: composite: Shutterstock/Netflix

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.

Related: “Tiger King” presents a trans man as a butch lesbian during the entire show

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.

Exotic has since sued for $94 million alleging anti-gay discrimination. He has been quarantined in prison after exposure to the novel coronavirus.

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