President Donald Trump lambasted former President Barack Obama’s handling of the return of American hostages from Iran at a Thursday rally.
“Obama, President Obama…Paid $1.8 billion for hostages,” Trump declared to the Indiana crowd. He then referenced his own administration’s convincing of North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un to release 3 American hostages for nothing in return.
“They came out for nothing,” he bragged.
Trump referenced Obama’s authorization of a cash transfer to Iran of $400 million at the exact same time that American hostages were released. Obama administration officials disputed the ransom narrative at the time, claiming the payment was part of a series of scheduled payments and happened to coincide with the hostage release.
Obama originally credited “strong American diplomacy” and touted his deal with Iran for making the negotiations possible.
The former American hostages of North Korea included Kim Dong-Chul, Kim Hak-Song and Kim Sang-Duk. Chul was a Christian missionary engaged in work in North Korea when he was arrested in October 2015 for allegedly stealing state secrets. Trump announced their release on Twitter Wednesday morning.
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