Is Donald Trump Going to Pardon Joe Exotic?
Donald Trump Jr. expressed interest in the idea in a radio appearance on Monday
Update 8/18/2020: On Monday President Trump hinted to reporters that he was planning to pardon someone "very, very important."
After reporters confirmed that the person in question was neither NSA leaker and former Trump punching bag Edward Snowden, nor disgraced former National Security Advisor Michael Flynn, speculation began to run rampant that Trump was planning to pardon Joe Exotic. Not this time.
As it turned out, Trump bestowed a posthumous pardon on Susan B. Anthony, the "very, very important" women's rights activist who died more than a hundred years ago. Anthony was arrested in 1872 for illegally voting in Rochester, NY nearly 50 years before women were granted the right to vote by the 19th amendment.
What this means for people intending to illegally vote in the 2020 election is anyone's guess.
Update, 4/9/2020: A reporter asked President Trump yesterday if he would consider granting Joe Exotic a pardon, and Trump responded that he would "take a look."
On Monday, Donald Trump Jr. spoke with Jim Norton and Sam Roberts on their SiriusXM radio show.
Among other topics discussed was the trio's shared love of Tiger King, the five hour saga of purely American insanity which Don Jr. claimed to have watched in two sittings. After he plugged his Instagram and the Joe Exotic/Donald Trump meme that he had just posted there, the hosts managed to steer Don Jr. toward more pressing concerns, including the fact that Joe Exotic has recently been seeking a presidential pardon for his crimes.
While Don Jr. expressed some skepticism about whether the story was true, an inspection of Joe Exotic's personal Facebook page reveals that it is all too real. A recent post to that page includes a plea for President Trump to consider "a special investigation or a Presidential Pardon from the Conviction I have Just received" and goes on to accuse unnamed persons of crimes including sex trafficking.
With that plea formally on the record, Sam Roberts pushed Don Jr. to meet with his father "the way that Kanye West and Kim Kardashian went into the White House and like, got that other person the pardon" and get the president to consider "maybe a presidential pardon for poor Joe Exotic, who's in there—and maybe we try to arrest Carole [Baskin] while we're at it."
After adding their voices to the broad speculation that Carole Baskin killed her first husband, they moved on to other topics, but not before Don Jr. had a chance to express his openness to the idea of pardoning Joe Exotic saying, "I could generally be for this, just for the meme, and just for frankly watching the media reaction" and suggesting that Exotic's sentence seemed excessive, though he qualified his comments with, "Maybe not right now."
Of course, if Don Jr. wants to be involved in securing a presidential pardon for Joe Exotic, then he may want to hurry, as Kim Kardashian West recently began looking into the question of Carole Baskin's missing husband, Don Lewis. On March 22nd she asked Twitter, "What are your thoughts? Do you think Carol [sic] killed him?" If she ends up finding the case against Baskin as convincing as Exotic himself did, she may decide to make the cause of freeing Joe Exotic her next high-profile foray into criminal justice reform.
With around 40,000 names currently signed to the Change.org petition for Donald Trump to "Free The Tiger King," would Kardashian West have what it takes to finally get this cause in front of the president? And would he actually do it? Considering Donald Trump's feelings about environmental regulation (Joe Exotic's conviction included several violations of the Endangered Species Act) and his general distaste for "nasty" women, it would hardly be surprising if he decided to add Exotic to his impressive list of pardons.
Whether or not that comes to pass—and even if Donald Trump decides not to make Joe Exotic his reelection running mate—it seems inevitable that our current moment of chaos, tinged as it is by Tiger King, will shape politics for the foreseeable future. With that in mind, Don Jr. closed his thoughts on the Netflix documentary with this insight: "You know what the real tragedy … in that whole show is? That none of us knew that you could have had a pet tiger for like two grand."
So look forward to season two of Tiger King AKA Tiger President, which will follow Don Jr. as he realizes Joe Exotic's dream of filling the White House with illegal tigers.
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