Not very surprising that Republican presidential candidates would find fault with the Iran prisoner swap that brought five Americans home while allowing seven Iranians to go home.
Some of the criticism was harsh.
Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) had one of the harshest takes on the deal to release seven Iranians in exchange for the four Americans.
“We shouldn’t be involved in swaps,” Rubio told reporters after a campaign event in Iowa, according to Time.
“The fact of the matter is that this tells us everything we need to know about the Iranian regime — that they take people hostage in order to gain concessions,” Rubio continued. “And the fact that they can get away with it with this administration I think has created an incentive for more governments to do this around the world.”
New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie also criticized the Obama administration for entering into the swap.
“We shouldn’t have to swap prisoners, these folks were taken illegally in violation of international law and they should have been released without condition,” he told an Iowa television station, according to the Huffington Post.
Businessman Donald Trump tied in the issue to the sanctions relief that Iran gets from the nuclear deal.
“So essentially they get 150 billion plus seven [people], and we get four [people],” Trump said.
“Meh, doesn’t sound too good. Doesn’t sound too good. But we have to see, because I just heard about this an hour ago, and I’m happy they’re coming back.”
Other candidates emphasized the return of the Americans over any negative aspects.
“Praise God!” Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) wrote on Twitter. “Surely bad parts of Obama’s latest deal, but prayers of thanksgiving that Pastor Saeed is coming home.”
Retired neurosurgeon Ben Carson praised the release of the prisoners, criticizing the nuclear deal but not the prisoner swap.
Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.), who has a less confrontational foreign policy than the other Republican candidates, had the most support for the swap and criticized his Republican counterparts.
Ted Cruz, speaking before a Tea Party convention in South Carolina, added, “While we celebrate their return, this deal serves as a piece of propaganda for both Iran and the Obama administration.” The Lightworker is now The Peacemaker.
I’m glad Rubio brought up the most salient point — that, in the future, any unfriendly government who wants to wring concessions from us may arrest our citizens on trumped-up charges and throw them in a hole for a few years until they get what they want. In fact, North Korea has done much the same thing, accusing several Americans of “spying” or trying to overthrow the government. It remains to be seen what Obama will give them to get our people back.