GOP presidential candidate Marco RubioMarco Antonio RubioOn The Money: Trump declares emergency at border | Braces for legal fight | Move divides GOP | Trump signs border deal to avoid shutdown | Winners, losers from spending fight | US, China trade talks to resume next week Trump declares national emergency at border Democrats veer left as Trump cements hold on Republicans MORE said the Americans released by Iran should not be described as “prisoners,” telling CBS News that they were “hostages.”


“Well first. let me say ‘They’re not prisoners,’” the Florida senator said during an interview airing Sunday morning on “Face the Nation.”

“These people that were being held were hostages. None of them had violated any real laws. And in fact some of them weren’t even charged. One of them was a reporter. The other one was a pastor. They’d done nothing,” he said.

Four Americans, including Washington Post reporter Jason Rezaian, were freed on Saturday in a prisoner swap.

“The people America’s releasing – they were convicted in a court law after due process of violate sanctions,” Rubio added. “The president has pardoned them in exchange for a release of hostages which had done nothing wrong and it proves once again now that nations and enemies of America around the world know there’s a price for Americans.

“If you take an American hostage, Barack Obama will cut a deal with you, whether it’s Bergdahl, what he did with the Castro brothers, and now what he’s done with Iran.”

Rubio also noted that CIA contractor Robert Levinson, who vanished in Iran in 2007, is not among those released.

“The Iranians know where he is or we believe they do. And they’re not being cooperative about that. We should not forget Mr. Levinson and his situation,” Rubio said.