Trump cel­e­brates re­turn of Amer­i­can pas­tor

The Record (Troy, NY) - - NATION+WORLD -

WASH­ING­TON>> 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 hard­nosed ne­go­ti­at­ing, 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.

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