President Trump personally welcomed home the three recently released American prisoners from North Korea early this morning. In a wonderful scene of celebration, Trump could be seen embracing the men as they emerged from an aircraft at Andrews Air Force Base, before saying “welcome home, welcome home.” The liberated prisoners raised their hands in celebration as an assembled crowd of family and friends cheered their arrival.
Speaking to press following their arrival, the president said he appreciated that North Korean leader Kim Jong-un had allowed the men to leave as “frankly we didn’t think that was going to happen before the meeting,” the BBC reported. Trump added that it was a “special night for these really great people.”
Looking forward to greeting the Hostages (no longer) at 2:00 A.M.
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) May 9, 2018
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo could be seen embracing one of the prisoners, who seemed overwhelmed with thankfulness for the effort the US official had put into getting him home. Mike Pence was also there to greet the prisoners. As the group walked toward the gathered press, the prisoners could be seen raising their hands in the air and jumping up and down in delight. A wonderful moment of elation.
The White House has said that the prisoners were released as a gesture of goodwill ahead of the much-anticipated summit between Trump and Jong-un later this month. Following the arrival of the prisoners, Trump announced that the venue for the summit would be announced “within three days.”
I had productive meetings in Pyongyang with Chairman Kim Jong-un and made progress. I'm delighted to bring home three Americans.
— Secretary Pompeo (@SecPompeo) May 9, 2018
When the press asked whether the release of the prisoners was Trump’s greatest achievement, he replied that there was still work to be done in this region of the world: “When we denuclearise that entire peninsula. It’s a great honor. But the true honor is going to be if we have a victory in getting rid of nuclear weapons.”
“I think that we’re going to have… a very big success,” he said of the upcoming summit. “I really think we have a very good chance of doing something very meaningful.”
Great day to be an American! Because of @POTUS Trump’s strong leadership, tonight we welcomed home three Americans from captivity in North Korea. Honored to be there to say Welcome Home! #GodblessAmerica
— Vice President Mike Pence (@VP) May 10, 2018
“It’s like a dream and we are very, very happy,” said prisoner Kim Dong-chul. Kim Dong-chul is a pastor in his early 60s who was detained in 2015 on spying charges.
A night we will all remember. Thankful to live in America. pic.twitter.com/VbDrpUG5Yg
— Sarah Sanders (@PressSec) May 10, 2018
The three had released a statement earlier, which read:
“We would like to express our deep appreciation to the United States government, President Trump, Secretary [of State Mike] Pompeo and the people of the United States for bringing us home.”
“We thank God and all our families and friends who prayed for us and for our return.”
On behalf of the American people, WELCOME HOME! pic.twitter.com/hISaCI95CB
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) May 10, 2018