Terry Jones, the Florida pastor known for publicly burning the Quran, is running for president as an Independent, on a platform of spending cutbacks, deportation of illegal immigrants and tax cuts for businesses.
In an interview with IBTimes, Jones said on Thursday that he was motivated to run because of the country's harsh economic reality, which he felt was not being articulated by the current presidential candidates. Jones also concerned by the country's direction, particularly the growth of national debt and government spending.
I'm really concerned that the politicians that are running right now, most of them are not telling the American people the truth, said Jones.
However, he praised Republican candidate Hermain Cain, calling him straightforward, honest, and a successful businessman. Jones said that if his own campaign was unsuccessful, he would endorse Cain.
But Jones had no kind words for President Obama.
Obama is an absolute disaster, he said. We cannot afford another four more years of President Obama.
His policies have been very ineffective in the growing and promoting of new jobs, Jones added. I don't think he was very qualified in the first place.
Jones is advocating for the deportation of all illegal immigrants. And while he conceded that finding and deporting them would be quite a cost, he said that the one-time cost would save billions that are spent each year in school, on medical costs and creating new jobs. The security of the national border was also an issue, along with tolerating illegal immigration, he said.
We're setting a bad precedent. We're setting a bad example, he said.
He also calls for the rapid withdrawal of all American troops from foreign countries and cuts in millitary spending of several billion dollars. Troops would not return until domestic economic issues were resolved and troops would be given job assistance, he said.
I think the worst of the two evils would be to stay there, he said. For broader foreign policy issues, Jones said he would look to hire staff experienced in such issues. He declined to comment on the current European debt crisis.
Jones also called for the reduction of corporate taxes in order to promote what he believed would be more jobs and formation of new companies. He said he had yet to decide on a specific percentage cut. In response to the Occupy Wall Street movement, Jones said that protestors were looking for handouts and had socialistic tendencies.
Of course, we don't owe anybody anything in the United States of America except the freedom and opportunity to work, he said.
Jones reaffirmed his belief that Muslims have the right to practice their religion and build mosques under the First Amendment. He said that if he was elected president, he would not prevent the construction of a Muslim community center and mosque at 51 Park Place, a few blocks from the World Trade Center, although he would express personal disagreement over the location. But he would push for the outlawing of Sharia law to ensure that Muslims held the Constitution as the highest law in the land.
I think a ban on Sharia nationwide would be very comforting for people who have fears in that direction, said Jones.
The Jones campaign is in the process of hiring staff, fundraising and has submitted letters to potential voters in 50 states, he said.