Despite being incarcerated in federal prison over several animal-related crimes—and masterminding a plot to kill his conservationist foe Carole Baskin—Tiger King star Joe “Exotic” Maldonado-Passage says his 21-year sentence should not deter Americans from supporting the 2024 presidential wannabe.
In an interview with Fox News over the weekend, Maldonado-Passage, who was incarcerated in 2018, spoke to Fox from prison, defending his February filing to run as a presidential candidate using the slogan “Make America Exotic.”
“It’s my Constitutional right to do this,” Maldonado-Passage told Fox’s Lawrence Jones when asked to reply to those who thought of his ambitions as a “big joke.”
“It doesn’t matter what people think. This ain’t a joke,” he continued. “Things have to be changed in our country, in our political system, in our Justice Department, our prison system. Somebody has to start asking some real questions for the people that work their butts off in this country to pay the bill for these politicians to just keep handing this money away.”
He initially planned to run as a Libertarian, though Angela McArdle, chair and spokesperson for the Libertarian Party, told TMZ earlier this month that the party would not be endorsing his candidacy.
“We stand for personal and economic freedom, we are not a landing pad for former reality stars and D-list celebrities.”
Maldonado-Passage said McArdle “can say all she wants, I know how the political system works.”
“I don’t see the Libertarian party in the news, do you?”
The former zookeeper also gave his foreign policy pitch to Fox during the interview, saying that it was time for the United States to “quit policing the rest of the world
“We have to quit funding everybody else’s culture,” he added. “It’s not the working class people of America’s problem to take care of the rest of the world.”
Without providing examples, Maldonado-Passage criticized the U.S. giving “billions and billions” to other countries for “gender identity.” He also mentioned the Russian invasion of Ukraine, President Putin, former President Donald Trump’s recent indictment prediction and, of course, vague allegations of impropriety regarding Hunter and Joe Biden.
He said: “What is the hell is the difference in somebody in prison that sees the system for what it really is, and exposing this and trying to fix it?”