Koran-burning pastor joins Rand Paul, Ted Cruz in race for presidency
In March 2011, Jones sparked outrage around the world when he supervised the burning of a Koran on the grounds of his tiny Florida church, Dove World Outreach Center in Gainesville ‒ from which he has since split. He repeated the controversial event in April 2012.
This week, the controversial pastor announced he would seek the presidency, telling WWSB that his goal is to speak out and raise awareness for those who are being oppressed.
"I believe most all the politicians are politicians. They're not telling the American people the truth. I spent 30 years in Europe as a missionary and when I came back to America I was horrified by the conditions of America. Lets say the moral, spiritual, and let's say the financial conditions," Jones said.
He believes he can save the country from radical Islam, and promises to reduce the deficit as well.
Jones blames the state of the US economy on President Barack Obama. The pastor was once investigated by the Secret Service after he lynched an effigy of Obama outside of his church.
“I’m pretty devastated by the condition of America, the moral condition, the spiritual condition, the economical [sic] condition,” Jones told Politico, adding that he didn’t have a “game plan” for his campaign and that winning would require “some type of major miracle.”
Samir Khatib, the spokesperson for the Islamic Society of Sarasota and Bradenton, told WWSB the idea of Jones running for president is laughable.
"I think it's a joke. The American people need to have somebody with more substance and intelligence and knowledge to be a president," Khatib said. "I think it's a waste of time, a waste of money and a waste of his effort."
Foreign policy with some of America’s closest allies could be difficult if Jones were to win the election. He had his anti-Islam signs seized and was denied entry in Canada in October 2012. Germany had also prevented Jones from entering the country for a screening of 'Innocence of Muslims' the previous month. Then-British Home Secretary Theresa May banned the pastor from ever stepping foot in the United Kingdom in December 2010, after he had been invited to give a speech there for a right-wing group, England is Ours.
Jones previously vied for the presidency in 2012, but was only formally recognized as a write-in candidate in Indiana.