In a year that feels like it can’t get any stranger, people have been left dumbfounded after a congressman suggested that the president pardon himself… and Joe Exotic.
The remarks were made by Matt Gaetz, a Florida congressman and ardent Trump supporter, in a Fox News interview and again when tweeting a clip of it.
In the video, Gaetz follows up his comments saying: “You see from the radical left a bloodlust that will only be quenched if they come after the people who work so hard to animate the Trump administration.”
Joe Exotic rose to infamy this year after appearing in Netflix documentary Tiger King, which proved to be a lockdown hit. He is currently in jail serving a 22-year sentence for murder-for-hire and animal abuse charges.
It’s unclear why the congressman included Joe Exotic on his proposed ‘pardon-spree’ list, but, as ever, the internet was quick to react, calling out how bizarre the suggestion is.
Twitter user @mirandayaver wrote: “I know the timeline will get stupider, but Matt Gaetz suggesting a pardon for Joe Exotic is a truly stupid chapter in a profoundly stupid year.”
Another user made reference to fellow Tiger King star and Joe Exotic nemesis Carole Baskin, who some believe killed her first husband and fed him to her tigers.
@HadleySheley jokingly tweeted: “[Gaetz] now also needs to watch out for Carole Baskin – cause she’ll feed his a** to her tigers for that Joe Exotic pardon comment and she’ll 100 per cent get away with it, again.”
The president has the right to grant pardons to people who have committed federal offences.
Trump announced yesterday that he would be pardoning his former aide General Michael Flynn, who was fired by Trump from his position in 2017 for lying to Vice President Mike Pence and the FBI about conversations he had with Russia’s ambassador.
It has brought to the surface further questions about whether Trump would consider pardoning himself for any potential crimes he could be prosecuted for when he is no longer serving as president.
And, while there is a mildly funny side to Gaetz’s comments, it’s been suggested that they indicate an admission of guilt on behalf of the president, or at least his allies.
Twitter user @crunchyrugger added to the discourse: “This man is so incredibly and irredeemably stupid that he doesn't even understand that accepting a pardon is an admission of guilt.”
We won't hold our breath for a Tiger King 2.