Trump: Unlike Obama, we didn’t pay for release of US prisoners
President Trump heaped praise on both himself and Kim Jong Un on Thursday, claiming he did what President Obama couldn’t by getting the North Korean leader to release three American prisoners this week — for free.
“In all fairness, Obama paid $1.8 billion for hostages,” Trump said during a midterm campaign rally in Elkhart, Indiana.
“[The North Korean prisoners] came out for nothing.”
Speaking less than a day after their release, the president publicly welcomed the Americans home — and thanked Kim for making it happen.
“I think that 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?”
The president appeared to be referencing a 2016 deal in which Obama agreed to transfer $1.7 billion to Iran as a settlement for a decades-old deal involving military equipment.
The agreement was made on Jan. 17, 2016 — the exact same day that Tehran agreed to release four American prisoners. White House officials later admitted to using the cash as a bargaining chip.
Trump said Thursday that the Americans’ release from North Korea this week was ultimately a sign of things to come.
“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 his upcoming meeting with Kim in Singapore.
“It’s important for them, important for everybody,” he added. “I think it’s going to be a very big success.”
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