Andrew Brunson, the American pastor released from prison in Turkey this week, prayed about Donald Trump at the White House on Saturday. In response, the president asked whom Brunson and his wife had voted in the presidential election that took place weeks after the pastor's arrest in 2016.
Brunson, who said he voted by mail, and his wife, Norine, said they supported Trump. The president said that he already knew that.
Minutes earlier, Brunson had knelt down, grabbed Trump's shoulder and asked God to grant the President "supernatural wisdom."
"Make him a great blessing for this country," Brunson told the Oval Office, where he and his family met with Trump, government officials like Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, and national security adviser John Bolton and Republican members of the congress.
"From a Turkish prison to the White House in 24 hours, that's not bad," said Trump.
Brunson, who moved to Turkey in the mid-1990s, was arrested and charged with links to the Gülen movement, which staged a failed 2016 military coup, according to Turkey.
On Friday, a Turkish court sentenced Brunson to three years' imprisonment, but time-bailed out the remainder of his sentence so he could leave the country. Brunson's lawyer, Jay Sekulow, is also a member of Trump's legal department at the investigation in Russia.
On Saturday, Brunson repeatedly thanked Trump, his staff and other government officials. He and his wife will now spend some time with their children, he said, before praying for guidance. He declined to talk about his treatment in Turkey and said that he would share this information in future interviews.
NBC said Thursday that the Trump government had reached a deal for Brunson's release and said the US would reduce economic pressure on Turkey.
Trump denied this and said that the only thing that came close to a deal was "a psychological one" and stated that Brunson's return had improved US sentiment towards Turkey.
The two countries continue to be divided on important issues such as Iran and the civil war in Syria. Before Brunson's hearing on Friday, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan said he was disappointed that the US-backed Kurdish militias had not left the Syrian city of Manbij, in contrast to an agreement that was negotiated this year.
Trump spoke about Americans released from captivity overseas under his administration, including Aya Hijazi, who was imprisoned in Egypt for three years, and three men released from North Korea in May.
"Chairman Kim [Jong-un] It was really great for us, "he said, adding," It is not an easy situation for Turkey either. You have had many difficult situations and I would like to thank President Erdoğan for making this possible. "
Trump also faced questions about the disappearance of journalist Jamal Khashoggi after he entered the Saudi consulate in Istanbul earlier this month.
Some analysts have suggested that there is a link between the time of Brunson's release and the search for information on the disappearance of Khashoggi. Trump said Brunson's release was a "total coincidence".