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Republican White House contender Donald TrumpDonald TrumpUkraine's president compares UN to 'a retired superhero' Collins to endorse LePage in Maine governor comeback bid Heller won't say if Biden won election MORE slammed the Obama administration over the recent release of four Americans, suggesting Iran got the better end of the deal.
"So we're getting them back, and then I heard, well, wait a minute, we're paying a big price," he said during a speech at Liberty University on Monday. "They're getting seven back, we're getting actually four. You know, they say five, but the other one they can't find. He's in Iran."
Trump's remarks come as four Americans who were being held in Iran were released over the weekend. The United States also gave clemency to several Iranian-Americans who had been charged or convicted of violating sanctions. A fifth American, Matthew Trevithick, was also separately released.
Trump added that the American prisoners could have been released as part of the nuclear deal reached last year if the United States had people who could "negotiate properly, not a guy like [Secretary of State John] Kerry, who doesn't have a clue."
If Iran had refused to hand over the prisoners, Trump said, U.S. negotiators should have walked away from the table, doubled sanctions and "within 48 hours" Iran would have offered to turn over the U.S. prisoners.
"You could... have gotten the prisoners out years ago for nothing, for nothing, without giving them these people — who, by the way, deserve to have been in prison," he added.
His remarks come after he appeared to take credit for the swap, saying at the South Carolina Tea Party Convention, "I think I might have had something to do with it."
He added on Monday that the swap, the nuclear deal and Iran temporarily holding U.S. sailors that had entered its territorial waters are the latest in a string of missteps from the administration on Iran.
He added that the flare up over the sailors was "one of the saddest things that I have seen. ...It's not OK. It's a lack of respect."
Trump's remarks of the administration's Iran policy were part of a broader criticism of "deals" made by the Obama administration including trade negations and the Taliban swap for Army Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl, whom Trump called a "dirty, rotten traitor."
Bergdahl currently faces a court martial, where he could be sentenced to life in prison over charges of desertion and misbehavior before the enemy.
While the Republican presidential candidates have largely suggested they are happy about the release, they've also raised concerns and questions about the timing of the swap and the implementation of the nucler deal.
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