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President Trump speaks with former hostage from Utah during opening night of RNC

By Rett Nelson, EastIdahoNews | Posted - Aug. 25, 2020 at 10:05 a.m.

WASHINGTON, DC – During the opening night of the Republican National Convention in Washington, D.C., President Donald Trump spoke with six former American hostages.

Among them was former Pocatello, Idaho, residents Joshua Holt and his wife Thamy, who were held hostage in Venezuela for two years.

“You helped us get out. Sen. Hatch worked with you on that as well. It was a great honor to meet you right when we got back,” Holt told President Trump. “It’s nice to meet you again. It’s been great to be back helping people through situations that they’ve gone through.”

Holt and his wife were arrested in Venezuela in June of 2016 after authorities claimed Holt was keeping guns in Thamy’s home. The two were newly married at the time and were staying there while waiting for Thamy’s visa to clear.

Holt and his wife were eventually released in May of 2018.

After a tearful reunion with his parents, Laurie and Jason Holt, the family was then welcomed to the White House by President Donald Trump.

A lot has changed for the Holt’s in the last two years. Laurie Holt, who worked with American officials for two years to advocate for Joshua’s release, passed away in Feb. 2019 nine months after her son’s return home.

Josh and Thamy welcomed a new baby later that year. They are currently living in the Salt Lake area.

“Say hello to the folks in Utah because they’re great people,” Trump told Holt.

Josh launched a podcast in May called “Hope in Darkness.” In an interview with KPVI, he said the podcast tells the full story of his imprisonment, including some new details.

He even shared a message about trials and how they make you stronger.

“You know we go through difficult stuff, but it’s all survivable. Nothing different from being held hostage and going through a life crisis. Everything that we’re going through in that moment seems impossible that we’ll survive it and overcome it,” Holt said.

The podcast was produced by KSL NewsRadio. It is a series of 12 different episodes that run 20 to 35 minutes each. Every episode is available here.

Other former hostages present during the convention were Michael White, who was held in Iran, and Sam Goodwin, who was imprisoned in Syria. Pastor Andrew Brunson also appeared, who was held in Turkey and Pastor Bryan

Nerran, who was arrested and held in India.

A campaign official said Monday the former prisoners are among more than a dozen religious or other people whose release the Trump administration helped broker.

“I’m very pleased to let everybody know that we brought home over 50 hostages from 22 different countries. We worked very hard on it. We’re very proud of the job we did,” Trump said during the convention.

Day two of the RNC continues Tuesday.

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