ALL NEWS

Former Venezuela prisoner Josh Holt appears with President Trump

Aug 25, 2020, 12:02 PM | Updated: 12:05 pm
josh holt donald trump...
In this screenshot from the RNC’s livestream of the 2020 Republican National Convention, U.S. President Donald Trump (L) speaks with freed hostage Joshua Holt in a pre-recorded video broadcasted during the virtual convention on August 24, 2020. The convention is being held virtually due to the coronavirus pandemic but will include speeches from various locations including Charlotte, North Carolina and Washington, DC. (Photo Courtesy of the Committee on Arrangements for the 2020 Republican National Committee via Getty Images)
(Photo Courtesy of the Committee on Arrangements for the 2020 Republican National Committee via Getty Images)

WASHINGTON, D.C. — A Utah man who spent 23 months in a Venezuela prison, Josh Holt, appeared at the Republican National Convention alongside President Donald Trump on Monday night. 

Josh Holt seated next to President Trump at RNC

Josh and Thamy Holt were among six people featured in a video with President Trump from the White House. All of them had been held by foreign governments. 

“We were held hostage in Venezuela for two years,” Josh Holt said during the RNC remarks. 

“I know very well,” Mr. Trump responded as Holt chuckled. 

The president hosted the Holts and the others to highlight his administration’s focus on freeing Americans held abroad. He said his administration has helped bring back over 50 hostages from 22 different countries, a number hard to verify because the US government does not regularly release information or statistics on Americans in the custody of foreign governments. 

In the case of the Holts, President Trump described the work to secure their freedom as a bit of a miracle. 

“Well, the great people of Utah really wanted me to do something about the two of you, and we were able to do it, and — a little bit of a miracle, I think, frankly,” the president said on Monday’s broadcast. 

“Yeah, it was,” Josh Holt agreed. 

“Because that was a very hostile period,” Mr. Trump continued.

While the president claimed much of the credit, the work to get the Holts freed was conducted by a group of lawmakers, and the largest part by Senate staffer Caleb McCarry. 

How the Holts’ freedom came about

Behind the scenes over the nearly two years the Holts were imprisoned, two Utah lawmakers worked hard to raise awareness of their plight and try to secure their freedom. Former Rep. Mia Love and retired Sen. Orrin Hatch, both Republicans, raised Holt’s name at every possible opportunity, to President Trump and anyone else they thought could help.

Eventually, that led to the involvement of a Senate staffer who happened to know Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro because of a retreat they’d both attended in 2002. That relationship eventually helped lead to the Holts’ release. But because a number of high-profile lawmakers strongly opposed any negotiations or trades with Venezuela because of the conditions in the country, the Senate staffer, Caleb McCarry, ultimately found himself forced out of his position over his involvement. 

The full story of how Josh and Thamy Holt’s release came about is detailed in the KSL Podcast, “Hope In Darkness: The Josh Holt Story.” All 12 episodes are available to listen and subscribe free anywhere you listen to podcasts. 

Today’s Top Stories

All News

uvalde police...
PAUL J. WEBER Associated Press

Uvalde schools suspend entire police force after outrage

The decision follows outrage over the Uvalde district's hiring of a former Texas trooper, part of the law enforcement response during the Uvalde attack.
14 hours ago
Image of the bike that was gifted to Bentley following the crash that left him hospitalized (Photo ...
Adam Small

5-year-old hit while riding bike on path to recovery, gets a special visitor

A 5-year-old boy who was hit by a truck while riding his bike on Wednesday is making progress in his recovery at Primary Children's Hospital.
14 hours ago
Someone eats at Training Table. Pictured eating through a window under a sign that reads "gourmet"...
Waverly Golden

The countdown is over… what does Training Table have cooking up?

As of July 21, 2022, the Training Table's website had a countdown of 78 days with a cryptic message saying “Tasty things coming soon."
14 hours ago
Taylorsville City Police Department is investigating what they believe to be a murder-suicide. Furt...
Elizabeth Weiler

Million dollar traffic stop in St. George

A routine traffic violation stop turned into a drug bust worth over one million dollars of fentanyl, according to police
14 hours ago
Tomatoes produce will throught the season and are a productive crop. (Deseret News)...
Lindsay Aerts

A delayed frost means more summer produce

Overnight frost may make its first appearance later than usual this year. Crops like tomatoes and corn may benefit.
14 hours ago
Canyon School District student picks glasses...
Samantha Herrera

Canyons School District provide free glasses to elementary school students

The Canyons School District provided about 30 students from East Midvale Elementary with much-needed, free glasses on Thursday.
14 hours ago

Sponsored Articles

Young woman receiving laser treatment...
Form Derm Spa

How facial plastic surgery and skincare are joining forces

Facial plastic surgery is not only about looking good but about feeling good too. The medical team at Form Spa are trained to help you reach your aesthetic outcomes through surgery and through skincare and dermatology, too.
large group of friends tohether in a park having fun...
BYU MBA at the Marriott School of Business

What differentiates BYU’s MBA program from other MBA programs

Commitment to service is at the heart of BYU’s MBA program, which makes it stand out among other MBA programs across the country.
a worker with a drill in an orange helmet installs a door in the house...
Price's Guaranteed Doors

Home improvement tip: Increase the value of your home by weatherproofing doors

Make sure your home is comfortable before the winter! Seasonal maintenance keeps your home up to date. Read our tips on weatherproofing doors.
Curb Appeal...
Price's Guaranteed Doors

How to have the best of both worlds for your house | Home security and curb appeal

Protect your home and improve its curb appeal with the latest security solutions like beautiful garage doors and increased security systems.
A paper reading IRS, internal revenue service is pictured...
Jordan Wilcox

The best strategies for dealing with IRS tax harassment | You have options!

Learn how to deal with IRS tax harassment. This guide will teach you how to stop IRS phone calls and letters, and how to handle an IRS audit.
spend a day at Bear Lake...
Bear Lake Convention and Visitors Bureau

You’ll love spending the day at Bear Lake | How to spend a day at Bear Lake

Bear Lake is a place that needs to be experienced. Spend a day at Bear Lake.
Former Venezuela prisoner Josh Holt appears with President Trump