Beg your pardon?

Rep. Matt Gaetz suggests Donald Trump pardon Tiger King Joe Exotic

Matt Gaetz and (inset) Joe Exotic
Matt Gaetz and (inset) Joe Exotic (Photo: Wikimedia Commons)

Republican Rep. Matt Gaetz has said that he hopes President Trump pardons not only himself – Donald Trump – but also any supporters sure to upset those on the left, including Joe Exotic.

Appearing on Fox News’ Ingraham Angle yesterday, Gaetz said: “President Trump should pardon Michael Flynn, the Thanksgiving turkey … He should pardon everyone from himself to his administration officials, to Joe Exotic if he has to.

“Because you see from the radical left a bloodlust that will only be quenched if they come after the people who worked so hard to animate the Trump administration with the policies and the vigor and the effectiveness to deliver for the American people.

“So I think that the President ought to wield that pardon power effectively and robustly.”

Joe Exotic is the business name of former big-cat sanctuary owner, Joseph Allen Maldonado-Passage.

Exotic was sentenced to 22 years in prison in 2019 on two counts of murder-for-hire (over plotting to kill rival big-cat owner Carole Baskin) and several animal abuse charges. He gained notoriety earlier this year after he featured in the Netflix documentary Tiger King, which charted his rise and fall, as well as his unconventional life, which included marriage to two men at once.

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Exotic has been lobbying President Trump repeatedly for a pardon. Trump is expected to use his final weeks in office to issue pardons, beginning yesterday with one for his former National Security Adviser, Michael Flynn.

Flynn had previously pleaded guilty to lying to the FBI over alleged Russian interference in the 2016 election. He later withdrew his admission but was convicted during a justice department inquiry.

Following Gaetz’s comments, Exotic tweeted a message of thanks to Florida representative, Gaetz.

“Big Huge THANK YOU to R-Congressman Matt Gaetz for recommending President Trump sign my Pardon along with many others. Finally someone seeing the truth,” said Exotic.

Earlier this year, when asked during a press conference if he would pardon Joe Exotic, President Trump replied that he didn’t know much about the case but would “look into it.”

In normal times, a Presidential pardon for someone convicted of murder to hire would be highly unusual. But let’s not forget: this is 2020. And this is Trump.

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