Trump discusses 'Tiger King' Joe Exotic's pardon at COVID-19 briefing, sparks outrage: 'He has time for that?'
A reporter wanted to know if the president would look into the pardon and social media was simply angry that a pandemic seemed like the best time for the media and Trump to discuss pardons
The world is witnessing a deadly pandemic that has already claimed thousands of lives, is threatening millions and has made hostages out of billions and the US President Donald Trump's opinion about Joe Exotic is not being taken kindly at this time.
On Wednesday, April 8, at a White House conference, a reporter asked Trump what his thoughts are about pardoning Joe Exotic, the star of Netflix docuseries 'Tiger King: Murder, Mayhem and Madness'. Joe was convicted in 2018 of attempted murder for hire (against his self-proclaimed archnemesis Carole Baskin) and a number of other wildlife violations, which includes killing odd five tigers. He is sentenced to 22 years in prison.
"One of the biggest rating hits of the coronavirus, aside from these briefings, has been a show on Netflix called 'Tiger King'," the reporter said. "The man who's the star of this is a former zoo owner who is serving a 22-year prison sentence. He's asking you for a pardon, saying he is unfairly convicted."
He also pointed out that Don Jr had said that Joe Exotic's 22-year sentence was "too aggressive", jokingly adding that he would even consider lobbying for his release.
"I was wondering if you've seen the show and if you have any thoughts on pardoning Joe Exotic," the reporter asked.
"Which son? Must be Don," Trump said. "I had a feeling it was Don. Is that what he said? I don't know. I know nothing about it. He has 22 years for what? What did he do?"
After the reported explained the case to him, he said, "Do you think he did do it? Are you on his side? Are you recommending a pardon? As a reporter, you're not allowed to do that. You'd be criticized."
Trump then turned to an off-screen reporter identified by CSPAN as CNN's Jim Acosta and asked if he would recommend a pardon. "I'm not weighing in on 'Tiger King'," he said.
Netflix's docuseries was an instant hit garnering more than 34 million viewers in the first ten days of its release on March 20, 2020, and topped the streaming site's Top 10 titles list for 15 days straight.
On Twitter, people had mixed reactions - some people wanted to know if the president would look into the pardon and others were simply angry that a pandemic would be the best time to discuss pardons.
"This was one of the questions the intellectual media asked at the presser today. Pathetic!" fumed a user on Twitter. "HE has time for that during this #GlobalPandemic!? HE SHOULD enact the #DefenseProductionAct & order manufacturers to make #PPE & #Ventilators #WorstAdministrationEver," another angry user tweeted.
"If Trump pardons Joe Exotic I’m dropping everything and moving to another country. Government would be a reality TV show at that point," said one.
But there are those who don't belong to either category and simply want to watch the (media) world burn. "Not gunna lie, I’m not sure if I even care if his paid hitman charges are true, I really do want to see @realDonaldTrump pardon Joe Exotic. The media gold that this will create will be epic."
"Someone asked Trump today at briefing if he was considering a pardon for Joe Exotic.Trump said he’ll have to look into it. Is this real life?" wondered one.
Some tried to slip in a plea or two of their own. "@realDonaldTrump Since we are considering a pardon for Joe Exotic, I think I’ll try sliding you my uncle’s name for a possible pardon too. He’s been incarcerated for a while. Jerry Prescott’s the name. Never hurts to try inbox me if you’d like to help Mr. President."