WASHINGTON (AP) – President Donald Trump has welcomed to the White House a Utah man held for two years in a Venezuelan jail, saying he has undergone a “very tough ordeal.”
Twenty-six-year-old Joshua Holt and his wife arrived Saturday evening at Washington Dulles International Airport. Venezuelan officials released the Holts after high-level talks between President Nicolas Maduro and U.S. lawmakers.
Sitting with Trump and other Senators Hatch and Lee and Representative Mia Love, Holt said he was “overwhelmed with gratitude” for those who worked for his release.
Trump says 17 prisoners have been freed from overseas captivity since he’s been president and that others would be coming.
The White House thanked the government of Venezuela for releasing an American held in jail for two years but added that U.S. policy toward the Maduro regime isn’t changing.
In a statement Saturday night, the White House says the Holts were unjustly held. The statement calls for free, fair and transparent elections consistent with the constitution of Venezuela, dismissing its May 20 elections as illegitimate.
The White House is also calling on Venezuela to release all political prisoners and accept international humanitarian aid for its dying citizens.