Following the release this weekend of a Utah native who had been held hostage in Venezuela for two years without trial, President Donald Trump received widespread accolades from congressional Republicans for his awe-inspiring feat.
“Mr. President, I can’t tell you how much I appreciate you. As you know, I was the one guy who really supported you 100 percent,” Utah Sen. Orrin Hatch said during a meeting at the White House this Saturday evening with the president and freed prisoner Josh Holt.
“[T]his wouldn’t have happened without you,” he continued. “We just want you to know that … And to know that we can rely on you and count on you, and talk to you, and meet with you — these are all very important things. We love you, boy, and we just want to support you every way we can.”
But Hatch wasn’t the only one gushing over the president’s accomplishment. Utah Rep. Mia Love was just as overwhelmed with gratitude.
“I don’t think that there is a person in the United States right now that doesn’t realize that you have their back,” she said. “I so wanted to personally thank you for keeping a promise that you made to me. Every time I would go and see you, I would bring up Joshua’s name, and you would say, ‘I’m going to do everything I can.’ And obviously, I believe it.”
“Utah wants to thank you, Mr. President, for making this happen. We wouldn’t have been able to do this without you.”
While Hatch and Love’s praise for Trump might seem sycophantic to cynical critics, they were completely in the right. By late May the president’s administration had already secured the release of 17 Americans previously held hostage in foreign nations, including Holt.
The Utah native reportedly wound up incarcerated on charges of espionage after he traveled to Venezuela in June 2016 to marry his wife, Thamy. During a prison riot earlier this month, he managed to post several desperate pleas to Facebook begging for help.
“The people have taken the entire prison. They’re outside. They’re trying to break in. They’re saying they want to kill me, they’re saying they want me as their guarantee. I need help,” he says in one of the 20-second videos,” he said in one horrifying video.
Guess who answered Holt’s plea for help.
Here’s the kicker: Two officials with the White House National Security Council confirmed to CNN that Trump gave Venezuela’s corrupt leadership “nothing” in exchange for Holt, meaning he got the man back home and sound without giving up the farm (unlike some people …).