This article appeared online at TheNewAmerican.com on Thursday, May 10, 2018:
Early Thursday morning President Trump and his wife Melania, Vice President Mike Pence and his wife Karen, and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo waited at the bottom of the stairs leading to the airplane carrying three freed prisoners from North Korea’s communist dictatorship. Trump was in his usual fine form, saying to the press gathered in the pre-dawn hour, “These are great people. Frankly, we didn’t think this was going to happen, but it did. It was important to get these people out. This is a special night for these three really great people.”
And then, turning to the newly freed prisoners, he added, “I think you probably broke the all-time-in-history television rating for 3 o’clock in the morning!”
When the plane carrying the freed prisoners and the president and his entourage touched down in Alaska for refueling, the State Department released a statement from the three:
We would like to express our deep appreciation to the United States government, President Trump, Secretary 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. God Bless America, the greatest nation in the world.
Little was reported about the efforts of Trump’s new secretary of state, Mike Pompeo, in working behind the scenes to secure the release of the three prisoners. But after 90 minutes of face-to-face conversation with North Korea’s strongman, Kim Jong-un, the dictator ordered their release.
The three were jailed on what appeared to be false charges of espionage and various other crimes against the state. The story of one of them is likely typical not only of the experience of the other two, but of many others jailed for such crimes in North Korea over the years. As the Daily Mail reported:
Kim Dong Chui, a naturalized U.S. citizen born in South Korea … was seized in North Korea on October 2, 2015 and accused of spying….
He worked just across the North Korean border … where he ran a hotel services company. He was also a pastor.
At a news conference organized by the North Korean dictatorship in March 2016, Kim told reporters that he was a spy and “apologized for trying to steal military secrets in collusion with South Koreans” and called his own actions “unpardonable.” After a one-day trial in April, he was sentenced to 10 years of hard labor. But, as the Daily Mail pointed out, “Previous victims of this regime have explained that they were forced to make similar public declarations of their guilt after being tortured, despite being innocent.”
It was noted that immediately upon arrival in the United States, the three were hustled off to Walter Reed National Military Medical Center for “evaluation and medical treatment.”
The early morning scene of celebration contrasted sharply with the arrival of another American citizen, Otto Warmbier, 11 months ago, who had been so badly treated and tortured by the communist regime that he never recovered from his coma and died within five days of his arrival in the United States.
Nevertheless, the celebration early Thursday morning was, as the Wall Street Journal expressed it, “a high point of Mr. Trump’s turbulent 16 months in office and signaled further momentum in the president’s push for a diplomatic solution to ease the nuclear tensions between Washington and Pyongyang.”
Indeed it was a high point of an extraordinary week for the president. The freeing of the prisoners sets the stage for a meeting between the North Korean dictator and the president on June 12, with the president expressing high hopes that the Korean peninsula might eventually become denuclearized. That would mean the official end of the Korean War and the possibility that thousands of American troops stationed in South Korea might return home.
With the ignominious resignation of New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman on Monday, President Trump is relieved of a painful critic who has been a thorn in his side for years.
With his announcement that he was withdrawing from the so-called Iran Nuclear Deal on Tuesday, the president kept yet another campaign promise to rid the country of the “horrible” deal struck during the Obama administration.
Also on Tuesday, primaries in three states went Trump’s way with the winners reflecting Trump’s policies in their campaigns.
On Wednesday, Rasmussen Reports revealed that the eternal Mueller “investigation” into Russian “collusion” is turning voters in Trump’s favor.
And this list fails to mention the continuing flow of remarkable news about the economy which continues to add new jobs and reduce unemployment to lows not seen in decades.
So, for Trump, it has been quite a week. And it’s only Thursday!