President Donald J. Trump welcomed Joshua Holt home to the United States on Saturday night, meeting with the released hostage at the White House after he was let free from Venezuela.
“You were a tough one, I have to tell you,” Trump said to Holt, about the process of securing his release.
Trump noted there were 17 American prisoners held outside of the country freed under his administration.
“We’re very proud of that record and we have others coming,” he said.
“I’m just overwhelmed with gratitude,” Holt said, thanking the president for helping him.
He commented that his trip to Venezuela was “not really the great vacation that I was looking for” and thanked his wife for helping him through the two years he spent in prison.
Holt traveled to Venezuela in June 2016 to marry his wife Thamy, whom he had met online. He was detained by the Venezuelan government for two years without a trial.
Holt’s parents thanked President Trump and all of the members of Congress who advocated on their behalf: Senator Bob Corker R-TN and Utah members of Congress, Senator Mike Lee, Senator Orrin Hatch, and Rep. Mia Love.
Corker specifically praised his Latin American policy aide, Caleb McCarry, for his efforts to secure the release.
“We could actually write a book about the last 48 hours,” he said.
Sen. Lee welcomed Thamy to the United States, speaking in Spanish, “Welcome to our country which is now your country.”
Sen. Hatch commented on the historic nature of the day, praising Trump for the “great things he was doing” for the country. He spoke to Holt, commenting on how much the entire group worked to secure his release. “You better really live a good life,” Hatch quipped.
Rep. Love thanked Trump for his efforts and praised Holt’s mother for her efforts to raise awareness about his plight.
“Your mom never let us forget about you, she is one of the strongest women I know,” Love said.
“We are all, as a group, very happy,” Trump said.