“Tiger King” star Joe Exotic announced from a federal prison in Atlanta he will be running for president in 2024 as a Libertarian.
Joseph Maldonado, who shot to fame as the star of the Netflix docu-series, made his campaign announcement on Twitter on March 10. He even has a campaign website.
Maldonado is serving a 21-year prison sentence following his conviction in 2019 on multiple charges, including two counts of hiring hitmen to murder wildlife activist Carole Baskin. He was also convicted of killing tigers and selling them across state lines.
There is no rule against someone being convicted of a crime of running for and serving as president if elected. The Constitution lists only three qualifications: The candidate must be at least 35 years old, be a natural born citizen, and must have lived in the U.S. for at least 14 years.
Maldonado previously ran for governor of Oklahoma in 2018 as a Libertarian, but did not make it past the party’s primary.
In an interview with Fox News on Sunday, the recently divorced Maldonado said changes need to be made in America’s political and judicial systems.
“Things have to be changed in our country, in our political system, in our Justice Department, our prison system,” he said. “Somebody’s got to start asking some real questions for the people that work their butts off in this country to pay the bills for these politicians to just keep paying this money away.”
He said his presidential campaign will focus on reducing America’s role on the global stage, arguing that the working people of America shouldn’t be responsible for taking care of the rest of the world.
“We have to quit policing the rest of the world, OK, and we have to quit funding everybody else’s culture,” he said. “It’s not the working people of America’s problem to take care of the rest of the world. We’re sending billions and billions of dollars to other countries for gender identity — for their wars, for their crap — and we’re cutting grandma and grandpa’s Social Security in America, and we have homeless vets, and it’s just — it’s ass-backwards.”
Angela McArdle, chair of the Libertarian Party, slammed Maldonado’s campaign in an interview with TMZ on March 19.
“We stand for personal and economic freedom, we are not a landing pad for former reality stars and D-list celebrities,” McArdle said, adding Maldonado’s failed run for Oklahoma governor back in 2018 was “just tigers and glitter.”
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