12:11 GMT +321 October 2018
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    U.S. pastor Andrew Brunson and his wife Norrine arrive at the airport in Izmir

    ‘Supernatural Wisdom’: Trump Welcomes Freed Pastor Brunson to the White House

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    The freed US Evangelical Presbyterian minister offered prayers during his visit to the Trump White House, asking for “supernatural wisdom” to be given to the president as a means to lead the nation into “righteousness.”

    US President Donald Trump welcomed Evangelical Minister Andrew Brunson, freed from Turkish custody, in the Oval Office on Saturday. Brunson, accused by Ankara of supporting the 2016 coup attempt and facing with 35 years of imprisonment, was freed after it was reported that the US State Department would reportedly ease US economic pressure on Ankara.

    "I want to congratulate you because you have galvanized this country […] I know what you have gone through […] It is not an easy situation for Turkey either," Trump said, welcoming the minister to the White House.

    Speaking before an audience, Trump thanked Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan for making the return of Brunson — who has lived and preached in Turkey for over two decades — possible, after the minister was imprisoned in the Middle Eastern nation for two years.

    Brunson took a moment also to pray for Trump in the televised meeting, saying he was grateful that the US leader had fought for him. As he prayed, kneeling before Trump and holding his left hand on the president's shoulder, Brunson asked for Trump to be bestowed with "supernatural wisdom" to lead the US into "righteousness."

    "Lord God, I ask that you pour out your Holy Spirit on President Trump, that you give him supernatural wisdom to accomplish all the plans you have for this country and for him," Brunson said, cited by Buzzfeed.

    "I ask that you give him wisdom in how to lead this country into righteousness. I ask that you give him perseverance and endurance and courage to stand for truth. I ask that you protect him from slander from enemies, from those who would undermine," he continued.

    ​Answering journalists' questions, the US president denied that there was any deal with Ankara regarding Brunson's release, but did not elaborate whether the US would lift economic sanctions from Ankara in the near future.

    "The only deal, if you could call it a deal, is a psychological one. We feel much differently about Turkey today than we did yesterday, and I think we have a chance of really becoming much closer to Turkey," Trump told reporters.

    "We do not pay ransom in this country," he added, cited by Talkingpointsmemo.com.

    The president commented on the situation of the missing Saudi journalist, Jamal Khashoggi, saying that the US is mulling punitive measures for Riyadh, should Khashoggi's alleged death be proven true.

    Trump intimated that punitive measures against Riyadh for Khashoggi's killing would not include breaking a major $110 billion arms deal with the Middle Eastern nation.

    "I actually think we'd be punishing ourselves if we did that," Trump told reporters at the White House on Saturday. "If they don't buy it from us, they're going to buy it from Russia or they're going to buy it from China. Think of that, $110 billion, all they're going to do is give it to other countries, and I think that would be very foolish."

    Trump suggested that many American jobs in several US states are involved in the enormous weapons sale, and that it would be "unwise" to interrupt the deal. According to the president, Washington is considering a "large list" of possible measures to use in retaliation against Saudi Arabia for the journalist's death.

    "There are other ways of punishing," Trump said, cited by the New York Times.

    Evangelical Minister Andrew Brunson was released from Turkish custody Friday and taken to Ramstein US Air Force base in Germany, where he was given a medical examination. Following the procedure, the pastor was flown to US soil on Saturday.

    Tags:
    meeting, White House, Andrew Brunson, Donald Trump, Turkey, United States
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