“Tiger King” star Joe Exotic might be serving time in federal prison, but that is not stopping him from exploring his political ambitions — he’s announced a run for president in 2024.
Joseph Maldonado-Passage is currently incarcerated serving a 21-year sentence for a murder-for-hire plot targeting big-cat activist Carole Baskin — a sentence that has been reduced by one year since Maldonado-Passage began treatment for cancer. He released a statement via his own website announcing his presidential campaign but did not specify if he’s affiliated with a political party.
“Thank you for your interest in my Campaign. Yes, I know I am in Federal Prison and you might think this is a joke but it’s not. It is my Constitutional right to do this even from here,” the statement began. “I have been put here only because of the corruption in the Department of Justice, three felons that were told how to lie under oath to further this agenda, two corrupt Assistant U.S. Attorneys, two corrupt FBI Agents. and one corrupt Federal Wildlife Agent.”
The former zookeeper went on to say that he felt equipped to represent Americans because he understood what it felt like to be lied to by politicians and he was ready to demand answers.
“I am here because I have a world platform to make these politicians listen to your and my concerns and give us some answers for once because all they do is lie to all of us, take our hard earned money calling it taxes, and give it away to foreign countries without them giving us anything back,” he said.
He concluded by admitting that he had made mistakes in the past — and that he didn’t judge the American people for making mistakes in their past — and asked that people look past that to see what he might be able to do for them.
“So put aside that I am gay, that I am in prison for now, that I used drugs in the past, that I had more than one boyfriend at once and that Carole hates my guts. This all has not a thing to do with me being able to be your voice,” he continued. “The best thing you have going for supporting me is that I am used to fighting my whole life just to get by. I am broke, they have taken everything I ever worked for away, and it’s time we take this country back.”
Maldonado-Passage is not the first to run a presidential campaign while in prison — Eugene V. Debs, a socialist, won nearly a million votes in 1920 despite being incarcerated in the Atlanta Federal Penitentiary for speaking out against the draft during World War I.