Austin Tice’s mother: Biden comments show he is ‘ready to engage with Syria’
The mother of American journalist and former Marine Austin Tice said that President Biden’s recent remarks on her son’s detainment abroad show that the president is “ready to engage with Syria” on bringing her son back home.
During an appearance on CNN’s “New Day,” host John Berman asked Tice’s mother, Debra Tice, about her reaction to Biden’s latest call, urging Syrian officials to release her son from captivity.
Wednesday marked 10 years since Tice, 41, was kidnapped while covering the Syrian civil war as a freelance journalist.
“Well, I mean, first of all, I’m just so glad that President Biden has said Austin’s name publicly, I think that was the first time in that statement,” Tice told Berman. “And I think that it’s an indication from the president that the United States government is ready to engage with Syria to bring Austin home.”
Tice also told Berman that it’s “great news” to see the Biden administration taking action to bring detained Americans back home, mentioning the prisoner exchange of former Marine Trevor Reed earlier this year and the ongoing effort to bring WNBA star Brittney Griner and former Marine Paul Whalen. All three were or are detained in Russia.
“Well, I think it’s great good news. I think it indicates that this administration understands that in order to bring people home, there’s going to have to be engagement, negotiation and concession,” Tice added.
“I think they’ve demonstrated the president is willing to make a hard decision and get that done. And so I think it’s really uplifting. You know, Trevor is also a Marine, and I told him he did his brother a good one by paving a highway for Austin to come home.”
In a statement, Biden urged Syria to release Tice, saying that he’s repeatedly contacted the Syrian government to work out a deal to bring the freelance journalist home.
Biden met with Tice’s parents earlier in May where he told them that his administration is working on bringing their son, and other detained Americans back home to U.S. soil.
Tice’s family also penned a letter to Biden last year asking him to prioritize their son’s safe release from the country.
“On the tenth anniversary of his abduction, I am calling on Syria to end this and help us bring him home. There is no higher priority in my Administration than the recovery and return of Americans held hostage or wrongfully detained abroad,” Biden said in his statement.
“We stand with Austin’s many loved ones, and we will not rest until we bring Austin home. Ten years is far, far too long. So is every additional day,” Biden added.