Speed Reads

RNC 2020

Trump praises Erdogan while talking with pastor imprisoned by Turkish government

President Trump sat down with Andrew Brunson, an American pastor who was arrested while living in Turkey in 2016 as part of a purge carried out by President Recep Tayyip Erdogan's regime, during the Republican National Convention on Monday night.

Brunson thanked Trump and his administration for fighting to secure his release. "I think if you hadn't done that, I may still be in Turkey," Brunson said.

Trump appeared proud of the accomplishment and called a Brunson a "very innocent person," but he also made sure not to criticize Erdogan and, in fact, gave his Turkish counterpart some props for helping orchestrate Brunson's return. "To me, President Erdogan was very good," Trump said, adding that he "ultimately, after we had a few conversations, he agreed, so we appreciate that," which puzzled more than a few observers. Tim O'Donnell