TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) – During his daily coronavirus briefing on Wednesday, President Donald Trump was asked whether he would consider pardoning Tiger King Joe Exotic.
Joe Exotic, whose real name is Joe Maldanado, is serving 22 years in prison after being convicted of animal abuse and a murder-for-hire plot involving Carole Baskin. Baskin owns Big Cat Rescue in Tampa.
During the briefing, which was supposed to be about the coronavirus crisis that’s currently impacting the country, a New York Post reporter asked the president if he would pardon Joe Exotic.
“There’s been a show on Netflix called Tiger King,” the reporter, identified on Twitter as Steven Nelson said. “(Joe Exotic) is asking you for a pardon, saying he was unfairly convicted. Your son yesterday jokingly said that he was going to advocate for it.”
Nelson was apparently referring to an interview Donald Trump Jr. did on Sirius XM.
“Which son? Must be Don,” the president answered. “I had a feeling it was Don.”
The president went on to say that he knows nothing about the show and asked what the reporter thought about Joe Exotic’s claim that he was wrongly convicted.
“Are you recommending a pardon? As a reporter you’re not allowed to do that,” President Trump said before asking another reporter his opinion.
The second reporter said, “I’m not weighing in on Tiger King.”
“I’ll take a look,” Trump said before shifting focus back to coronavirus.
Joe Exotic’s story has recently come back into the spotlight thanks to a docuseries on Netflix called Tiger King. The show features the years-long feud between Baskin and Exotic over the care and treatment of large animals.
The show has also brought back interest in the disappearance of Baskin’s ex-husband, Jack “Don” Lewis. The Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office has taken advantage of that interest and is now asking for new tips on Lewis. The sheriff recently said he was receiving six tips a day.