With Brunson release, Trump's record of freeing American hostages gets ever longer
Looks like another American hostage has come home, courtesy of President Trump.
According to the New York Times:
WASHINGTON — President Trump welcomed home on Saturday an American pastor freed by Turkey and said the release would improve relations with Ankara, but he denied any connection to the dispute between Turkey and Saudi Arabia over the missing Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi.
With television cameras on hand to record the event, Mr. Trump invited the pastor, Andrew Brunson, to the Oval Office roughly an hour after he had landed back in the United States. In an emotional moment, Mr. Brunson asked if he could pray for Mr. Trump, then knelt next to him and asked God to give the president “supernatural wisdom.”
What's more, the return is very much part of a long line of hostage returns that have characterized the first two years of President Trump's administration. Brunson is the 18th freed by Trump, there have been at least 17 others.
Daily Caller has an excellent list of the previous 17, along with their backstories.
A hostage from Venezuela, taken in as a pawn to be used as leverage against the U.S. Trump (and some helpful Senators) got him out.
A group of Korean-Americans, accused by the North Korean regime of being spies, again pawns for leverage. Trump fixed that fast.
A group of UCLA basketball players, picked up for shoplifting in the Chinese communist regime, apparently guilty, and quite the idiots so perfectly reasonable to leave them there, but released anyway, solely because of Trump.
A Canadian-American couple, held captive by the Taliban. Released through the pressure on Pakistan from President Trump.
Otto Warmbier, an Ohio student held by the North Koreans on false charges of souvenir-stealing, and likely just for leverage by the regime. (Sadly, he died, but his parents were gratified to know he died at home). Trump made that much possible.
A Texas businesswoman arrested on charges of espionage by China and held without trial. Trump got her out of that one.
An Egyptian-American couple that took care of street children arrested on false charges of human trafficking. Out, courtesy of President Trump.
A Portuguese-American former CIA officer, charged with renditioning and sentenced to jail in Italy, again, freed by President Trump.
Obviously, this is a lot of competent staff work in each of these difficult and complicated cases. But when you consider how lost and alone these people must have felt, and how difficult it was to get anyone to want to pay attention to them, it's quite striking that Trump was right there to make sure that they get freed.
How does it do it? I have a sense that it was the leadership of Trump, and it was the reaction to that of the leaders of these countries. Most tinpot regimes likely react to Trump about the same way that Trump's business rivals might have reacted to him in response to some conflict of interest in the real estate field: They don't want to deal with him. They want him out of their hair. They want him away from them so they can conduct their own business. They know Trump doesn't mess around and they don't want a Trump Problem.
Combined with skillful leverage from Trump, most of these cases are getting resolved, and taking hostages as leverage on their matters of national importance no longer pays off, so there's a lot less of this nonsense going on.
Trump seems to be a one-man passport insurance system. And we've never seen any president with such a record.
He should get a lot more credit than he's getting for these astonishing hostage releases.