News » Citydesk

Cruz, Rubio Link Abedini Release to Bergdahl Prisoner Swap

by

Texas Republican Sen. Ted Cruz accuses the Obama administration of "negotiating with terrorists." - WIKIMEDIA COMMONS
  • wikimedia commons
  • Texas Republican Sen. Ted Cruz accuses the Obama administration of "negotiating with terrorists."


Texas Sen. Ted Cruz, who is near the front of the pack of GOP presidential hopefuls, took to the nation's Sunday morning talk shows to rip the Obama White House for the Jan. 16 deal securing the release of pastor Saeed Abedini, of Boise, from his Iranian jailers.

Abedini, imprisoned since 2012, was released Jan. 16 along with four other Americans, in a U.S.-Iran prisoner exchange. 

Cruz, who has repeatedly criticized the White House for what he said was inaction over Abedini's imprisonment, said Sunday morning he thought the deal to free the Boise pastor and four others was "problematic." Cruz doubled down on his remarks when he likened the Jan. 16 deal with Iran to the 2015 deal with the Taliban, which secured the release of U.S. Army Sergeant and Idaho native Bowe Bergdahl in exchange for the release of Taliban militants from a U.S. prison.

"[The deal] reflects a pattern we've seen in the Obama administration, over and over again, of negotiating with terrorists and making deals and trades that endanger U.S. safety and security. This deal has a lot of things in common with the Bowe Bergdahl deal, where in exchange for the release for Bowe Bergdahl, now facing court martial, we released five Taliban terrorists," Cruz told Fox News Sunday. "As a result of this, every bad actor in the world has been told, 'Go capture an American" and President Obama is in the 'Lets Make a Deal' business."

Cruz said he got to know Abedini's wife Naghmeh during the time of her husband's imprisonment "and we're all very grateful that he's coming but at the same time, this deal is a very problematic deal."

Florida Republican Sen. Marco Rubio, another presidential hopeful, says there's now a "price on the head of every American abroad." - WIKIMEDIA COMMONS
  • wikimedia commons
  • Florida Republican Sen. Marco Rubio, another presidential hopeful, says there's now a "price on the head of every American abroad."
On NBC's Meet the Press, Florida Republican Sen. Marco Rubio, another GOP presidential hopeful, also likened the Abedini release to the Bergdahl case.

"Now we have a President who trades hostages for prisoners who did commit a crime," said Rubio. "What the President is now doing ... and what he did with Bergdahl is put a price on the head of every American abroad."

Meanwhile, Democratic presidential hopeful and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton told ABC's This Week With George Stephanopoulos, "I'm pleased, like everybody is, that we have American citizens coming home from Iran. They were unjustly held there. I did a lot of work on these issues when Americans were being picked up, falsely charged and imprisoned."