President Donald Trump tweeted this morning the three remaining American citizens held captive in North Korea have been freed and are flying back to the United States with Secretary of State Mike Pompeo. The release is being billed a a goodwill gesture by North Korea in advance of ruler Kim Jong Un’s meeting with Trump.
“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 so looking forward to meeting,” Trump tweeted. “They seem to be in good health. Also, good meeting with Kim Jong Un. Date & Place set.”
Trump then tweeted that Pompeo and his “guests” will be landing at Andrew Air Force Base at “2 A.M. in the morning” and that he would be there to greet them. “Very exciting!” Trump beamed.
In anticipation of this hostage release, Trump a week ago had tweet-scoffed that the Obama administration had failed to free the three American hostages, which stands to reason, given that two of them were detained after Trump took office. Two of the men have been held captive since last year; one since 2015.
“As everyone I aware, the past Administration has long been asking for three hostages to be released from a North Korean Labor camp, but to no avail. Stay tuned!” Trump had tweeted back then.
Trump’ press secretary Sarah Huckabe Sanders had tried to mop up after him, telling correpondents at her briefing that Trump had included Otto Warmbier in his tally of three, but that workaround still leaves one hostage un-accounted for.
College student Warmbier detained in North Korea in early 2016 had been flown back to the U.S. last June in a vegetative state and died soon after landing in this country.
More recently, Trump’ new lawyer Rudy Giuliani announced last Thursday the three hostages would be released that day, during his jaw-dropping interview with Sean Hannity on Fox New Channel.