Yes, 18. Remember That Number.

With the release of Danny Burch this week from Yemeni captors, I reflected upon the success the Trump Administration has had in releasing American’s held hostage overseas. The numerical success is overlooked by most media and press and when covered on individual basis, it is understated and often buried in the back pages.

Since President Trump was elected, 18 Americans have been released out of captivity in his first two years. Compare that 10 were released under Obama’s 8 years in office.

For those 18 Americans who happened to find themselves “The Accidental Tourist” (by Anne Tyler, 2002) in countries such as Venezuela, China, Yemen, Egypt, Portugal, North Korea or Afghanistan with one way tickets to prison cells or hard labor some back to 2012, it has to be some measure of relief that the current Administration has made releasing American hostages a priority. Donald Trump has taken a hard line no American will be allowed to be held hostage. Frankly, this is something most Americans expect from whomever lives in the White House.

President Trump has in two years developed a philosophy that there is no such thing as a “political prison” when it comes to Americans in foreign jail cells. President Trump has loudly let the world know – these Americans are “prisoners” held against AMERICA’s will

And scoff as many would at President Trump and Chinese President Xi Jinping’s golf game at Mar-a-Lago in April 2018; it can be pointed as the place where Trump secured the freedom from China of Texas businesswoman Sandy Phan-Gillis – held since 2015 who Obama had tried to secure release many times to no avail.

Most poignant was the release in June 2017 of Otto Warmbier, an American college student from Cincinnati who took a political poster from a Pyongyang hotel wall and sentenced to 15 years hard labor.

Working through back channels immediately upon taking office, President Trump did what the Obama administration had not been able and secured Otto’s return to Ohio.

The Warmbier’s believe had another administration pushed head-to-head with the North Koreans, Otto would be home attending college in Ohio instead pass away one week later.

As the Wall Street Journal opinion piece opined (before Danny Burch release) on May 28, 2018:

“The 17 who have been brought home include a former Central Intelligence Agency agent arrested and detained in Portugal for the operation that captured radical Egyptian cleric Hassan Mustafa Osama Nasr. The list also includes three University of California, Los Angeles basketball players who were arrested and detained for stealing sunglasses in China. Also, among the 17 are the three Korean-Americans who were released at the beginning of May during a visit to Pyongyang by Secretary of State Mike Pompeo.

The Obama administration brought home Americans as well, including some from Iran. But that triumph was tarnished by the de facto ransom payments and the unconscionable decision to allow Tehran to remain silent on what happened to retired FBI agent Robert Levinson, who disappeared in Iran in 2007 while on a job for the CIA. Likewise for Mr. Obama’s decision to swap five senior Taliban terrorists held at Guantanamo Bay for the U.S. Army deserter Bowe Bergdah”

You do not have to be a Trump fan, but as an American acknowledgement of “job well done” is in order. We can all agree it’s comforting to know our government will not forget about us if we run into harms way overseas.