Freed American 'overwhelmed with gratitude' after being released from Venezuela

Freed American 'overwhelmed with gratitude' after being released from Venezuela
© Fox News

The Utah man freed Saturday after being imprisoned for nearly two years in Venezuela told reporters he was "overwhelmed with gratitude" for his safe return to the U.S. during a White House meeting with President TrumpDonald John TrumpReporters defend CNN's Acosta after White House says he 'disrespected' Trump with question Security costs of Trump visit to Scotland sparks outrage among Scottish citizens Ex-CIA officer: Prosecution of Russians indicted for DNC hack 'ain't ever going to happen' MORE.

Joshua Holt told onlookers at the White House that he was gratified that the Trump administration, as well as Sens. Orrin HatchOrrin Grant HatchGOP moderates hint at smooth confirmation ahead for Kavanaugh GOP senators introduce resolution endorsing ICE Yale Law School students, alumni denounce Trump Supreme Court pick MORE (R-Utah) and Bob CorkerRobert (Bob) Phillips CorkerOvernight Health Care: Watchdog finds Tom Price improperly used funds on flights | Ex-Novartis CEO sent drug pricing proposal to Cohen | HHS staffers depart after controversial social media posts HHS staffers depart after controversial social media posts: report McConnell: We may 'be in the early stages' of a trade war MORE (R-Tenn.) had intervened on behalf of "just a normal person."


"I'm just overwhelmed with gratitude for you guys, for everything that you've done," Holt said.

Trump told Holt that he had been "incredibly brave" to endure almost two years in a Venezuelan prison.

Holt was arrested in 2016 when he traveled to the country to marry his wife, Thamy Holt, who is from Venezuela. The government accused Holt and his wife of being spies who were hoarding weapons and attempting to overthrow the government, according to the Miami Herald.

"You've been very brave, actually, you've been incredibly brave," Trump said. "We saw what was happening inside of that prison, so you really have been very, very brave."

Holt's release came just days after he pleaded for help on a cellphone video, which was posted to Facebook Live. Corker, the chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, met with Venezuela's President Nicolás Maduro on Friday to discuss Holt's release.

"I’ve been begging my government for two years. They say they’re doing things, but I’m still here," Holt, 26, said in the video.

Hatch announced Holt's release on Friday, characterizing it as the end result of two years of negotiations with Maduro's government.

"Over the past two years I've worked with two Presidential administrations, countless diplomatic contacts, ambassadors from all over the world, a network of contacts in Venezuela, and President Maduro himself, and I could not be more honored to be able to reunite Josh with his sweet, long-suffering family in Riverton," Hatch said.