U.S. President Donald Trump’s administration — less than a year and a half into its tenure — has helped secure the release of at least 14 Americans, including three children born in captivity to an American woman and her Canadian husband held by the Afghan Taliban and al-Qaeda-linked Haqqani Network.
Marking the latest in a series of victories by the Trump administration in winning the release of Americans held abroad are the three U.S. citizens liberated this week by the murderous and oppressive North Korean regime.
I am pleased to inform you that Secretary of State Mike Pompeo is in the air and on his way back from North Korea with the 3 wonderful gentlemen that everyone is looking so forward to meeting. They seem to be in good health. Also, good meeting with Kim Jong Un. Date & Place set.
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) May 9, 2018
Not known for paying praise to President Trump, the liberal Vox news outlet acknowledges:
The Trump administration seems to have made freeing US hostages held abroad more of a priority, and it has unquestionably had more success than the Obama administration.
Ranging from college students caught shoplifting to a couple — an American woman and a Canadian man — who had three children while in captivity, below are an account of some of the U.S. hostages liberated under the Trump administration:
- Kim Dong Chul, Kim Hak Song, and Tony Kim: All three Korean-Americans, accused by the Kim Jong-un regime of anti-state activities. The North Korean regime imprisoned them for terms ranging between one and two years. The three young men are expected to reach U.S. soil in the early hours of Thursday.
- Aya Hijazi: The Trump administration negotiated the April 2018 release of aid worker Aya Hijazi, imprisoned in Egypt for three years. She was liberated soon after a meeting between President Trump and his Egyptian counterpart Abdel Fattah al-Sisi to secure Hijazi’s release. Ultimately, the Egyptian judicial system acquitted her of charges of child abuse that human rights groups and U.S. officials deemed baseless.
- Sabrina De Sousa: The Trump administration won the release in March 2018 of the former CIA agent who was scheduled to be extradited from Portugal to Italy over the kidnapping of radical Egyptian Muslim cleric Osama Mustapha Hassan Nasr, also known as Abu Omar. Referring to her release, Former Rep. Pete Hoekstra (R-MI), a spokesman for De Sousa, told Fox News, “I can confirm that this wouldn’t have happened without extraordinary help from the Trump administration.”
- UCLA Basketball Players LiAngelo Ball, Cody Riley, and Jalen Hill: In November 2017, President Trump personally took credit for asking his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping to release the three players held in the communist country for shoplifting. Chinese authorities accused them of stealing designer sunglasses from a Louis Vuitton store. President Trump wrote on Twitter after the players returned home, “You’re welcome, go out and give a big Thank You to President Xi Jinping of China who made your release possible.”
- American Caitlan Coleman, her Canadian husband Joshua Boyle, and their three children: The Taliban and al-Qaeda terrorist group the Haqqani Network, deemed by the Pentagon as the top threat facing U.S. troops in Afghanistan, kidnapped the couple in October 2012. Haqqani terrorists held them for five years until their release in October 2017. The couple had three children while they were held captive.
- Otto Warmbier: The Trump administration negotiated the release of the 21-year-old American student in June 2017 after he was detained by the Kim regime for 17 months for allegedly stealing a propaganda poster in his hotel. He died shortly after he was returned to the United States in a coma.
- Sandy Phan-Gillis: Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) credited President Trump for providing “leadership” in communist China’s decision to “deport” the Houston businesswoman in April 2017. The Chinese judicial system had sentenced her to three and a half years in prison on espionage charges.
As of October 2017, there reportedly were about 20 Americans held captive by militant groups around the world or foreign governments. The Trump administration has liberated about eight since.