MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Early Thursday morning, three Americans held by North Korea for more than a year returned to the United States.

President Donald Trump met Tony Kim, Kim Hak Song and Kim Dong Chul on board the plane.

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Secretary of State Mike Pompeo helped secure the freedom of the U.S. citizens during a meeting with Kim Jong Un.

“This is a wonderful thing that he released the folks early. It was a big thing, really important to me and I really think we have a very good chance of doing something really meaningful,” Trump said.

The upcoming summit will be the first talks between North Korea and the U.S. since the end of the Korean War. Many credit Trump’s tough talk with leading to the breakthrough, not just for the freed prisoners, but for the future of the Korean Peninsula.

For President Trump’s supporters, the release of the three U.S. citizens held prisoner in North Korea is confirmation that Trump’s tough tweeting, and at times unpredictable foreign policy, can work not only for North Korea but other trouble spots around the globe.

The images could not have been more dramatic: The President and the First Lady welcoming the three former prisoners onto U.S. soil in the middle of the night

“I think it’s historic at many levels,” Minnesota GOP Chair Jennifer Carnahan said.

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The Chair of the Minnesota Republican Party says this is confirmation of President Trump’s foreign policy skills and that the developments so far signal a possible breakthrough that could end a conflict that the U.S. and the world have struggled with for more than half a century.

“The President demonstrated his ability to bring peace through strength,” Carnahan said. “To get to a point where you have the North Korean and South Korean leadership crossing the line that is historic.”

From Trump’s Minnesota supporters, there is something even more. An “I told you so” moment for a President they feel has been unfairly criticized by the mainstream media.

“For me it’s just another confirmation from when I first met him in 2016,” MyPillow CEO Mike Lindell, a Trump supporter, said.

My Pillow CEO Mike Lindell’s office walls are decorated with personal photos of the President. Lindell was among then candidate Donald Trump’s first prominent Minnesota supporters in 2016. Lindell stayed up to watch the overnight arrival.

“I wanted to see it, to feel it, these guys coming home. What a blessing. They would have sat there for years and years,” Lindell said.

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The Democratic response to the prisoners’ release has been muted here and across the country. We checked, and could find no press releases or major social media posts from major local or national Democrats.

Esme Murphy