Rev. Andrew Brunson, newly released from Turkey after being detained for nearly two years, knelt in prayer at the foot of Donald Trump’s chair in the Oval Office on Saturday and thanked the president for having “really fought for us, unusually so, from the time you took office.”
Placing his hand on Trump’s shoulder, the North Carolina pastor asked God to give the president “supernatural wisdom to accomplish all the plans you have for this country and for him.”
Brunson added, “I ask that you protect him from slander, from enemies, from those who would undermine. I ask that you make him a great blessing to this country.”
Trump basked in Brunson‘s praise, casting the evangelical faith leader’s highly anticipated homecoming to the U.S. as yet another sealed deal his White House predecessors were unable to accomplish.
“I was actually very surprised that we didn’t work this out a couple of months ago, but it started in a different administration, and they were not going to work out anything,” Trump said, hours after Brunson stepped foot on domestic soil following two years of imprisonment in Turkey.
“And we took it over, we inherited it, and we have, I think, at this moment, gotten 19 different people out of various countries that were being held,” the president added, going on to reference Egypt’s release in April 2017 of Aya Hijazi — a 31-year-old dual U.S.-Egyptian citizen and charity worker detained in Cairo for nearly three years.