Trump Attacks Barack: President Obama Paid for Hostages, We Didn't


During a political rally Thursday night in Indiana, President Donald Trump contrasted the conditions regarding the return of three American prisoners from North Korea this week to the return of U.S. hostages from Iran while Barack Obama was in office, noting the 44th president paid well over $1 billion, while his administration paid nothing.

One of the many critiques then-presidential candidate Trump had of the 2015 nuclear agreement with Iran is that the Obama administration did not set as a pre-condition to the negotiations the return of American hostages.

“In all fairness, Obama — President Obama — paid $1.8 billion for hostages,” Trump told a raucous crowd in Elkhart, Indiana.

The mere mention of the former president’s name brought a thundering chorus of “boos” from those in attendance.

Trump went on to praise North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un for his decision to return the imprisoned Americans.

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“Kim Jong Un did a great service to himself and to his country by doing this,” Trump said. “Those hostages came out with respect. We didn’t pay for them. … They came out for nothing, and the others came out for $1.8 billion in cash. Can you believe that?”

In January 2016, the Obama administration airlifted $400 million in cash to Iran at the same time four American hostages were released.

One of the American hostages, Saeed Abedini, told Fox News the plane carrying himself and the other Americans was not allowed to leave until another plane arrived first, which he understood to be transporting the pallets of cash.

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The Wall Street Journal reported the $400 million was the first installment of a $1.7 billion settlement the Obama administration agreed to pay the Islamic Republic from a judgment handed down at the international tribunal at The Hague.

Tehran had paid the United States for military equipment never received due to the overthrow of the Shah of Iran during the 1979 revolution.

Obama explained his decision to authorize the payment in January 17, 2016, remarks at the White House

“With the nuclear deal done, prisoners released, the time was right to resolve this dispute as well,” he said, without disclosing the $400 million cash payment.

When the cash payment later became public, the Obama administration denied there was any link between the payment and the release of hostages.

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“As we’ve made clear, the negotiations over the settlement of an outstanding claim … were completely separate from the discussions about returning our American citizens home,” State Department spokesman John Kirby said.

“Not only were the two negotiations separate, they were conducted by different teams on each side, including, in the case of The Hague claims, by technical experts involved in these negotiations for many years,” he added.

Trump said Thursday the release of the American hostages by North Korea boded well for the upcoming talks between himself and Kim, slated for June 12 in Singapore.

“The relationship is good, and hopefully, I mean for all of us — for the world — hopefully something very good is going to happen,” Trump said, referring to the upcoming summit.

“It’s important for them, important for everybody,” he stated. “I think it’s going to be a very big success.”

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Randy DeSoto has written more than 2,000 articles for The Western Journal since he joined the company in 2015. He is a graduate of West Point and Regent University School of Law. He is the author of the book "We Hold These Truths" and screenwriter of the political documentary "I Want Your Money."
Randy DeSoto is the senior staff writer for The Western Journal. He wrote and was the assistant producer of the documentary film "I Want Your Money" about the perils of Big Government, comparing the presidencies of Ronald Reagan and Barack Obama. Randy is the author of the book "We Hold These Truths," which addresses how leaders have appealed to beliefs found in the Declaration of Independence at defining moments in our nation's history. He has been published in several political sites and newspapers.

Randy graduated from the United States Military Academy at West Point with a BS in political science and Regent University School of Law with a juris doctorate.
Harrisburg, Pennsylvania
Graduated dean's list from West Point
United States Military Academy at West Point, Regent University School of Law
Books Written
We Hold These Truths
Professional Memberships
Virginia and Pennsylvania state bars
Phoenix, Arizona
Languages Spoken
Topics of Expertise
Politics, Entertainment, Faith