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FOX23 speaks with Joe Exotic on his 2024 presidential run

Joe Exotic for President

TULSA, Okla. — So far, in the race for president, five republicans and one democrat announced they're running. 

Now, also joining the race is the Tiger King, also known as Joe Exotic. 

FOX23 Investigative Reporter Janna Clark spoke with Jow from prison about why he wants to run. 

Legally, a convicted felon can run for president. Joe Exotic is the third person to try. 

From his prison cell in Fort Worth, Joe told FOX23 how living behind bars gives him a different perspective, a perspective he believes can help change the country for the better. 

The Oklahoma zoo owner Joseph Maldonado Passage, or Joe Exotic, was convicted in 2019 of wildlife offenses and hiring someone to kill Carole Baskin.

Baskin runs a big cat sanctuary in Florida.

Joe received a sentence of 21 years.

Janna spoke to Joe on the phone may times as he fought for his freedom. He keeps telling her he is innocent.

Now, he's running for president, again. He ran in 2016 as an independent, as well.

Two years later, he ran for Oklahoma governor. both times, he lost.

No he's running in the 2024 presidential election.

"Now that I've seen the broken system from in here, and what it's going to take to fix this country and put it on the right track, I said, why not?" Joe said.

Joe decided to run as a libertarian in this election. Janna asked him why he made that decision.

"I did because, you know, in the beginning, I thought a libertarian was more in the middle. The more that I'm getting to know libertarians and how crazy they are because they want to just hand a gun to everybody in America, with no training or nothing…I'm actually considering changing my party to a Democrat and giving President Biden a run for his money," Joe answered.

Janna asked him how he expects to run a country from behind bars. 

"Well, first of all, if I was to ever get lucky enough to win, I could pardon myself the first day," Joe said.

He then said his first task as president would be making sure the country is not sending money abroad. After that, he would tackle the border and then ensure better care for the elderly, the sick, the veterans and strengthen mental health care in the U.S.

"We're so busy sticking our nose in everybody else's business around the world, and helping everybody else's culture problems out, we're not even taking care of our own country. And it's time that we start," Joe added.

Joe's spokesperson sent FOX23 information on his platform as a candidate, which is to reevaluate the prison system.

"Let me just give you a wake up lesson real quick. All right, you're never going to stop drugs from coming across the border that's over 2000 miles long. When you can't stop drugs from walking in the front door of a fenced-in federal prison. This is the biggest cesspool of drugs and corruption I've ever been forced to live in my life. Prison does nothing to fix anything," Joe said. 

Janna asked him if there was more crime in prison than out of prison.

You create monsters in here," Joe said. "Because if you weren't a drug addict when you got here, you're going to be when you leave."

Joe said he has received a lot of positive feedback since announcing his run.

"You know, there's gonna be haters out there that can't get along with anybody, that are just keyboard warriors, but I have a lot of positive feedback," he said.

Joe said this is not a publicity stunt, he is serious about running.

"Trump is indicted. President Biden's under investigation. Why the hell not run from prison?" Joe said.

Janna asked him if he believes he really has a chance of winning.

"Look, this is how I'm looking at this right now. There's 2 million people incarcerated in this country right now, and there's probably close to 18 million that have been at some point or another. All I need is ten of their friends or family, and I've got this," Joe said.

Joe is now 60 years old, He's been in prison for six years. He told FOX23 he has been waiting 11 months for the Oklahoma City judge to give an answer to his motion.

The motion will determine if Joe should get a new trial based on the new evidence his attorneys presented in court.

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