Washington (AP) President Donald Trump defended pardoning a convicted felon Wednesday after his son’s family members died after being held for more than three weeks in a federal prison.
Trump issued a statement saying his son Eric and his wife Trista were in good health, adding: “I hope that the family of Sgt. La David Johnson and his family receive the same treatment that I have received from them.
Their treatment in the United States military has been exemplary and they deserve to be treated that way.”
A White House statement released after the White House news conference said Trump would “continue to advocate for their release.”
Trump’s son, Eric, was a soldier in the U.N. peacekeeping mission in the Central African Republic when he was killed last April.
He was born in Mexico and is the son of an American citizen and an Australian-born Canadian woman.
His father, Eric Johnson, was born to a Cuban father and an American mother in Alabama and was raised by his grandmother.
The couple moved to Texas when he turned 18 and eventually became permanent residents of the United Kingdom.
The White House said Trump had received a phone call from the family on Wednesday morning.
The statement said that the president would not comment on the matter at this time.
It said that Eric Johnson had been arrested on March 5 for an unrelated federal charge of illegal entry, but that he had been released from custody in April after spending time in the jail in New York City.
The family had sought release from the federal prison in El Paso, Texas, because the federal government had agreed to waive their bond.
The family had also requested that the Trump administration waive the federal jail bond requirement, the White Department said.