Andrew Basiago told me he's used to people thinking he's crazy. The 54-year-old Washington state lawyer first started bracing for public ridicule in 2008, when he began sharing stories about experiences he claims he had as a child working for a secret military project that enabled him to teleport, time travel, and visit Mars with a young Barack Obama. Now, he's running for president.
This year's presidential race has been, in many ways, so bizarre and entertaining in its own right that we've largely overlooked the fringe candidates that have historically provided a welcome reprieve from the boring status quo race. This is unfortunate for Basiago, who told me he couldn't afford the $4 million he estimated it would cost to campaign enough to get on the ballot. Instead, he's relying on his thousands of supporters (his Facebook group currently has 16,550 members) to write in their candidate of choice.
His platform consists of 100 proposals that range from forcing the government to disclose secret time travel technologies and putting bigfoot on the endangered species list, to pardoning Edward Snowden and investing $100 billion in infrastructure and programming for Native Americans.
Motherboard got Basiago, who is still a practicing lawyer, on the phone to talk about his campaign, time travel, the future, and the Donald Trump ideas he thinks are truly crazy.
Motherboard: So why did you decide to run for president?
Andrew Basiago: I entered public life as a whistleblower, describing my experiences in DARPA's Project Pegasus in the early 70s, which was the US time-space program at the time of the emergence of time travel. That truth campaign was motivated by a moral duty that I felt I had to describe what happened so that millions of dollars aren't wasted reinventing the wheel in terms of time travel. … In the process, I thought, well why don't I go for the top job? If I'm talking about this stuff and if my ideas and my information would be truly transformative, why not just run for president and try to have a larger impact? At least if I don't win, I'll have a wider audience.
What are some of the truths you'd like to expose?
I want the Tesla teleportation technology that Project Pegasus developed to be introduced socially because if we replace forms of transport that rely on the internal combustion engine—planes, trains, trucks, automobiles, motorcycles—we're going to be able to prevent 60 percent of the greenhouse gases that human industry contributes to the global emissions each year. … I went away for a month and wrote 100 distilled statements of things I care about and things I think the country should address over the next four years. Some people might think some of the proposals are laughable.
I call for putting sasquatch on the Endangered Species List. That's probably my most funky proposal. But when I was a four year old in August of '66 at Lake Sacandaga in the Adirondacks of New York State, I encountered two sasquatches. I went up to the outhouse and there was an adult male sasquatch probably, I don't know, 30-40 years old and his five year old son who was my size. I'm essentially insisting on bragging rights that I'm the first presidential candidate since Theodore Roosevelt to affirm the existence of sasquatch based on a personal encounter.
T.R. encountered sasquatch when he was on his great North American ape expedition, which was a search for bigfoot that he did when he was a young man. There's a precedent here and I kind of feel like, as a country, we're not really processing our own history very well. We're also unaware that our government achieved time travel over 40 years ago.
Why would the government keep time travel and teleportation a secret?
They weaponized teleportation to use it to put troops precisely where they were needed on the battlefield. … They wanted a technology that would allow, let's say, 20,000 marines at Camp Lejeune in North Carolina just streaming through teleporters and landing right at the battlefront. These technologies were also viewed as socially and economically disruptive. They would replace entire industries. Think of all the jobs that exist just in the automobiles sector.
"It creates support for a xenophobe like Donald Trump with the crazy notion of building a 30-foot wall."
If elected, how would you expose all of this?
I'd kick butt and take names! I'd say to the general accounting office and DARPA and everyone: "I'm implementing teleportation and if you don't help me, you're going to jail." I'd pull an FDR on this. I'm going to really pull rank. They're not going to tell me that we can't introduce it.
What's your position on immigration?
I'm calling for a temporary, across-the-board moratorium on immigration such as we imposed in 1924. Despite the bigots and the cynics, immigration is good for our country. It brings in people who want to be here, who have dreams they want to achieve in America, who are enjoying a better life by coming here and so are patriotic and loyal. … But when it becomes commonplace, it begins to overwhelm society. It is a truism that immigrants are now taking jobs from natural-born Americans.
But [that issue] creates support for a xenophobe like Donald Trump with the crazy notion of building a 30-foot wall 1,500 miles [long] between the United States and Mexico. We're going to build a wall to keep people out? No.
How about health care?
I oppose Obamacare and favor its repeal. I also oppose Clinton's plan. I support a single-payer, Canadian-style healthcare system because that's the one supported by two-thirds of American voters and because it's the fairest.
A lot of your ideas are hard to believe. How do you deal with people calling you crazy or a liar?
I just recognize that the truth ultimately prevails. I recognize that some people view me as a liar, or as crazy, or they're envious that they were not involved. But I'm simply sharing what happened to me. I'll get a certain amount of disbelievers, but I'll also get a certain number of believers.
This interview has been condensed and edited for clarity.