President Trump welcomed Andrew Brunson, the American pastor just released from a two-year imprisonment in Turkey, to the Oval Office Saturday on a lighthearted note.
“From a Turkish prison to the White House in 24 hours. That’s not bad,” Trump said.
Brunson, with his wife and three children alongside, thanked the administration profusely.
“They fought for us, unusually so,” he said. “We’re very grateful.”
He prayed over Trump while members of the White House cabinet and Congress looked on.
“Give him wisdom to lead this country into righteousness,” Brunson said as he laid a hand on Trump’s shoulder and the president bowed his head.
“Well, I need it more than anybody,” Trump said as the prayer concluded.
Brunson, 50, a Presbyterian pastor from North Carolina, led a tiny Christian congregation in the coastal city of Izmir for more than 20 years.
He was imprisoned in 2016 in the wake of a thwarted coup attempt against President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and held on terrorism and espionage charges