Skip to comments.Trump celebrates return of American pastor from Turkey
Posted on 10/13/2018 3:57:03 PM PDT by Texas Fossil
WASHINGTON (AP) President Donald Trump welcomed American pastor Andrew Brunson to the Oval Office on Saturday, celebrating his release from nearly two years of confinement in Turkey that had sparked a diplomatic row with a key ally and outcry from U.S. evangelical groups.
Brunson, who returned to the United States aboard a military jet shortly before their meeting, appeared to be in good health and good spirits. He thanked Trump for working to secure his freedom and then lead his family in prayer for the president. "You really fought for us," he told Trump.
"From a Turkish prison to the White House in 24 hours, that's not bad," Trump said.
Administration officials cast Brunson's release as vindication of Trump's hard-nosed negotiating stance, saying Turkey tried to set terms for Brunson's release, but Trump was insistent on Brunson's release without conditions. Trump maintained there was no deal for Brunson's freedom, but the president dangled the prospect of better relations between the U.S. and its NATO ally.
"We do not pay ransom in this country," Trump said.
Where previous administrations kept negotiations over U.S. prisoners held abroad close to the vest, Trump has elevated them to causes célèbres, striking a tough line with allies and foes alike.
Trump thanked Turkey's president, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who had resisted the demands of Trump and other high-level U.S. officials for Brunson's release. Erdogan had insisted that his country's courts are independent, though he previously had suggested a possible swap for Brunson.
The U.S. had repeatedly called for Brunson's release and, this year, sanctioned two Turkish officials and doubled tariffs on steel and aluminum imports citing in part Brunson's plight.
(Excerpt) Read more at krcrtv.com ...
4 great photos at the link with the rest of the article.
From a friend on Twitter:
Mutlu Civiroglu @mutludc 3h3 hours ago
https://twitter.com/mutludc/status/1051189018300436481 According to some sources in Washington businessman Tommy Hicks who is close to Trump and @EWInstitute played a major role in release of pastor Brunson in an effort to normalize relations between US and Turkey #AndrewBrunson
Mutlu Civiroglu @mutludc 1h1 hour ago
https://twitter.com/mutludc/status/1051217458227499008 Trump celebrates return of American pastor #AndrewBrunson from Turkey
Trump was in tears.
God Bless them all.
Trump didn’t give concessions to bring the Pastor home, he just started making things more difficult for them until they complied with his demands.
We’re going to fight, and you’re going to lose. But we don’t have to fight. In fact we can make things even better for you.
That’s Trump’s art of the deal.
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