John McAfee has no plans to shake hands and kiss babies. You won't find him on the campaign trail, and if he becomes president, you won't find him in the White House. The antivirus software magnate is running for president as a candidate of his own "Cyber Party," but has a notoriously checkered past. McAfee sold his company to Intel in 2010. Several years later, he was questioned about his neighbor's murder in Belize. He fled the country and, most recently, was arrested for a DUI and gun possession.
In an interview with CNNMoney, the self-described "eccentric millionaire" opens up about his unique campaign strategy and why he believes he should be the next president of the United States.
CNNMoney: Do you have a campaign slogan yet?
John McAfee: The campaign slogan is Privacy, Freedom and Technology.
Can you describe how you would change the state of surveillance if you were president?
I would simply demand that the NSA stop spying on American citizens without massive oversight. Their job is to protect us from the enemy, but to say, "Well, in order to do that, I have to open up your life and invade your privacy, to assure you that you are not the enemy" -- that's insane.
Apart from cybersecurity, what makes you qualified to run for president?
[I ran] a multi-billion dollar company. With all due respect to Hillary Clinton, she has spent her life in the world of politics, which is the world of fantasy. The only other presidential candidate who might see the world as it is, is Donald Trump.
Did his success in the polls motivate you to want to run?
Actually not. I fear that Donald Trump will end up like every politician because he is attached to a party, which is a machine. His party is based on a hundred years or more of political manipulations, and he cannot function outside of that party. That's a tragic state of affairs. As an independent, I am beholden to no one.
How do you plan to campaign?
Well, I have a unique plan of campaigning based on the thing that I know best, which is cyber-science. We're developing a system that will parse communications from the American public and find commonalities in all of their questions, so that I can have a weekly fireside chat in your living room, on the Internet. You can see my face and I will offer suggestions. You then can beat me over the head saying, "Well, that's ridiculous."
Can you give us an example of what you would talk about?
One of them is, why don't we take the TSA and disband it. We just continue to pay [the 50,000 TSA employees'] salaries and we send them home.
How do we stay safe on planes without the TSA? I know that the American public would ask that question.
Keep in mind, we are the Cyber Party, so we're thinking about technology. If there is going to be an attack against airplanes, it's not going to come from someone carrying a bomb on a plane. It's going to come from some hacker in Russia who is on a computer going, "You know, it's been long enough. Let's go ahead and hijack one of these planes." It's a piece of cake.
Traditionally, if you're running for president, you get on the campaign trail, you show up, you shake hands. That's not something you're going to do?
No, I'm not going to kiss babies and shake hands. However, I will be accessible and you will be able to implement yourself, your beliefs in the platform and in the government. I promise. Every week I'm going to come up with another crazy idea and you're going to either say, "Gosh, I like that, but we need to polish it up so it's believable," or you're going to say, "That sucks and everybody says it sucks," and I go "OK, well, 99% of the American public hates it. Out the window."
What are your thoughts on Hillary Clinton's decision to use a private email server?
Here is the problem. Hillary Clinton and other candidates like her are completely unversed in cyber-sciences and cybersecurity. That's got to stop. The chief executive officer, the president, is in charge of the Armed Forces, and if that man does not understand the art of war that's being used -- and today it's cyber-war -- he should not sit in that chair, neither should anyone in Congress. Yet, trying to find a congressman who is fluent in cyber-science conversation -- it's impossible.
You've got a very colorful past. You were arrested in Guatemala, you were named as a person of interest in association with a murder in Belize, you were recently arrested for a DUI. Will this be an obstacle in gaining the public's trust?
I don't think so. We're talking to the American public. We're not a squeaky clean group of people.
If you were elected president, would you live in Washington?
I would like not to live in Washington, if possible. It'd be great to live somewhere by a river where I could carry out all of my presidential duties while fishing, because fishing really doesn't take any thought or time or action, you're sitting in a chair. I'm sitting here in Memphis and I'm not even sure where you are. You're not here in Memphis, but you might as well be. We're talking, we're interacting. The Internet lets us be where we want, when we want.
What do you think the odds are that you will win?
I will say this. If I don't win, my heart goes out to America.
I am convinced, and my wife and my advisers yesterday convinced me 100% I will win.
[To the rest of the candidates], I'd invite Donald Trump, please go back to being an entrepreneur because you created a lot of jobs and you did great things for America. Hillary Clinton, [maybe create] a school for the deaf, because clearly you're a brilliant woman and your husband for eight years didn't hear a word of advice that you may have given him, so that would be appropriate. The rest of you, go home and look in the mirror, come back tomorrow and get behind me and let's save this country, please, for God's sake.