By Lorraine Woellert
When a Turkish court released American Andrew Brunson after two years of confinement, it was a profound moment for Christian evangelicals, who had made the pastor a symbol of religious persecution worldwide.
In Brunson’s case and others, they had prayed for deliverance. And President Donald Trump, they said, delivered.
Trump on Friday said there was “no deal at all” with Turkey to win Brunson’s release, but the administration had brought significant political and economic pressure to bear. In an unusual move, the administration had used a religious freedom law to target Turkish officials, the first time such economic sanctions had been brought against a NATO ally.
Again and again, evangelical activists say, the administration has made good on promises made to the faith voters who lifted Trump into office — a group he will sorely need to turn out again for his 2020 reelection bid.
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