Donald Trump said he wouldn’t have traded Russian arms dealer Viktor Bout for “a hundred people,” much less an individual basketball star as the Biden administration did in its recent swap of Bout for the WNBA’s Brittney Griner.
Calling the Biden deal “crazy bad,” the former president said he would have gotten U.S. Marine Paul Whelan out of Russia instead.
“I wouldn’t have made the deal for a hundred people in exchange for someone that has killed untold numbers of people with his arms deals.
“I would have gotten Paul out, however, just as I did with a record number of other hostages.”
Despite Trump’s reputation for bragging, the author of “The Art of the Deal” did have remarkable success in securing freedom for Americans held overseas.
Threatening a trade war, he got in the face of Sweden in order to secure the release of rapper A$AP Rocky, jailed in 2019 after a fight, Billboard reported.
Trump acted as a bully, Sweden’s Minister of Justice Morgan Johansson reportedly told a local news source.
“If you can try and do something like this against Sweden, what will you then try and do to slightly weaker countries that don’t have the European Union behind them?” Johansson allegedly said.
Wasn’t it President Theodore Roosevelt who referred to the presidency as the “bully pulpit”? Sounds like Trump was using it to protect American interests and citizens.
In 2018, Trump threatened “large sanctions” against Turkey if it did not release evangelical U.S. pastor Andrew Brunson, held for two years for alleged illegal political activity.
Immediately after the threat, the Turkish lira dropped 1.6 percent in value, the BBC said.
Brunson was released. Later, according to RSBN, he told Trump: “I was held in Turkey for two years, and you took unprecedented steps to secure my release, and your administration really fought for me, and I think if you hadn’t done that, I still may be in Turkey.”
Brunson faced a possible 35 years in prison, the BBC said.
U.S. Navy veteran Michael White was detained in Iran in 2018 while visiting a girlfriend. He received a 13-year prison sentence for insulting national leadership and publicly showing a private photo.
After two years and ill with symptoms of COVID, White was released as the U.S. deported an Iranian scientist, although both governments denied there was a prisoner exchange, NBC reported.
“I want to extend by personal thanks to President Trump for his efforts both diplomatically and otherwise,” White said to Fox News.
“It’s making America great again, and I look forward to what’s going to happen here in the future.”
U.S. citizen Sam Goodwin, attempting to visit every country in the world, was kidnapped by unknown perpetrators in Syria. Working through Lebanese internal security, Trump managed to get him released, RSBN reported.
At the White House, during 2020 Republican National Convention, Trump appeared with White, Goodwin and Brunson.
Also appearing with Trump were Josh Holt and his wife Tammy, whom Trump was instrumental in releasing from Venezuela, and Pastor Bryan Nerran, who had been arrested in India for not declaring a large amount of cash.
Trump said they were among over 50 individuals for whom his administration had secured release.
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