During Wednesday’s coronavirus briefing, President Donald Trump was asked whether he’d consider a pardon for Tiger King star Joe Exotic.
The question came from the New York Post‘s Steven Nelson, who was later roundly criticized for bringing up the subject.
“One of the biggest rating hits of the coronavirus aside from these briefings has been a show on Netflix called Tiger King,” Nelson said. “The man who’s the star of this is a former zoo owner who’s serving a 22-year prison sentence. He’s asking you for a pardon, saying he was unfairly convicted. Your son yesterday jokingly said that he was going to advocate for it. and I’m just wondering if you’ve seen the show and if you have any thoughts on pardoning Joe Exotic.”
“Which son? It must be Don,” Trump said.
“It was,” Nelson responded.
“I had a feeling it was Don,” Trump said. “Is that what he said? I don’t know. I know nothing about it. He has 22 years for what? What did he do?”
“He allegedly hired someone to murder an animal-rights activist, but he said he didn’t do that,” Nelson said.
“Do you think he didn’t do it? Are you on his side? Are you recommending a pardon? As a reporter, you’re not allowed to do that. You’d be criticized by these [other reporters],” Trump said, before turning to CNN’s Jim Acosta and asking if he would recommend a pardon.
“I’m not weighing in on Tiger King,” Acosta said.
“I don’t think you would,” Trump told Acosta.
“Go ahead, do you have a question?” Trump asked Acosta, before turning back to Nelson and saying, “I’ll take a look.”
“I do like Joe Exotic,” Acosta said before asking his question.
“Is that Joe Exotic? That’s Joe Exotic?” Trump responded.
Watch the bizarre exchange below.