On Saturday, Donald Trump welcomed finally-freed American Pastor Andrew Brunson to the White House.
The President congratulated Brunson on his release.
“So I just want to congratulate you, because you have galvanized this country. You take a look at this — there’s so much interest, and it’s your faith, it’s your strength, what you have gone through — I know what you have gone through. And I also know that a period of time ago, we were able to get you from prison to the house.”
The liberation occurred way late: I covered this story on July 27 (here), Trump having tweeted the day before, “This innocent man of faith should be released immediately!”
“Immediately” developed a kink — on July 31st, a Turkish court ruled against Brunson’s freedom (covered here). On August 20th, Trump continued his push, coupled with a fantastic pun (find my story here):
“Turkey has taken advantage of the United States for many years. They are now holding our wonderful Christian Pastor, who I must now ask to represent our Country as a great patriot hostage. We will pay nothing for the release of an innocent man, but we are cutting back on Turkey!”
Turkey has taken advantage of the United States for many years. They are now holding our wonderful Christian Pastor, who I must now ask to represent our Country as a great patriot hostage. We will pay nothing for the release of an innocent man, but we are cutting back on Turkey!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) August 16, 2018
I can’t deny a solid play on “Turkey.”
I also can’t deny the slight oddity of the President thanking Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan from the Oval Office, but I suppose it’s just good politics:
“And again, I do have to say, it’s not an easy situation for Turkey, either — they had a lot of difficult situations going on, and I do want to thank President Erdogan for making this possible. … Wasn’t easy, and wasn’t easy for him.”
On one hand, Brunson was found by the foreign court to be part of an unsuccessful coup, although U.S. officials have called the notion ridiculous. That finding would, therefore, make Brunson’s release complex. However, as RedState’s resident expert on a whole lot — and the recipient of my nomination as the next James Bond (see here) — streiff, pointed out, the minister’s imprisonment was quite a shady move:
“While it is great that Brunson is coming home, in my view, we still have a score to settle with Erdogan. He took Brunson as a hostage. His security people attacked US citizens on US soil. He’s clearly no longer an ally of any kind. In regards to Brunson, he’d lived in Turkey for 20 years ministering to a small and endangered Christian community. His life has been totally turned upside down by Erdogan’s little game. We should neither forgive nor forget this.”
Grateful to be back in the U.S., an emotional Brunson gave a big, inspirational thanks, expressing immense love for his country:
“This is a time to thank the administration and people in government who supported us. We love this country. Last night, we arrived in Germany on a plane that President Trump sent to take us from Turkey. And the ambassador to Germany met us there at 1:30 in the morning. I couldn’t believe it. And he had an American flag to give us that had flown over the embassy in Berlin. And I took it, and I very naturally just, I kissed it. … I love this country, and we pray for this country.”
Brunson’s patriotism is deeply moving. Let’s hope Colin Kaepernick was watching.
If I were Pastor Brunson, I’d be grateful, most of all, for my release. Secondly, I’d be super psyched that, for the rest of my life, I could shout “Yes!” while watching Airplane:
Most profoundly, during the meeting — surrounded by press — Pastor Brunson and his wife did something which surely scared many on the Left much more than would a stay in a Turkish prison: rather than requesting anything for themselves, with Andrew’s hand on Trump’s shoulder, they prayed for the President of the United States:
Prayer. That’s what a man of faith does — when he’s in prison, and when he’s free.
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