While addressing the GOP convention in Fort Worth, Texas, Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., jokingly suggested trading five Democrats for Andrew Tahmooressi, the Marine reservist held in Mexico, CNS News reported Sunday.
According to Paul, a delegate he spoke to said, “There is one guy who is kind of deserving we ought to try to get home, and that’s the Marine who accidentally carried his guns into Mexico.”
“So here’s what I’m thinking: Mr. President, you love to trade people," Paul said, referring to the prisoner exchange that secured the release of Bowe Bergdahl.
“Why don’t we set up a trade? But this time, instead of five Taliban, how about five Democrats?” he asked to applause and laughter. “I’m thinking John Kerry, Hillary Clinton, Nancy Pelosi – couldn’t we send them to Mexico?”
The 25-year-old Tahmooressi has been in custody in Mexico since the end of March. At the time of his arrest, he was in possession of three legally-registered firearms.
Having served two combat tours in Afghanistan and currently suffering from PTSD, Tahmooressi said he entered Mexico accidentally. According to his mother, Jill, he made a wrong turn and found himself in Meico.
Several lawmakers, including Rep. Duncan Hunter, R-Calif., have pressed the administration to take stronger action to get the Marine veteran back.
"Andrew is neither a criminal nor a weapons trafficker, and his incarceration is an extraordinarily unfortunate occurrence," Hunter said in a letter. "I am confident this situation can be resolved quickly through the continued attention and support of the U.S. State Department, but I remain concerned for Andrew's safety and well-being as a prisoner in Mexico."
Last Thursday, CNS added, State Department spokeswoman Marie Harf said the Obama administration is “working very hard to discuss with the Mexican authorities the path forward here.”
“Look, he entered – he reportedly entered Mexico with several weapons and ammunition, circumstances which would normally result in arrest in Mexico. So we are letting the process work itself through,” Harf said when asked if working with Mexico would be easier than negotiating with the Taliban. “The Mexican authorities provided prompt notification of his arrest, have allowed regular consular access. We’ll continue working with them.”
In late May, Secretary of State John Kerry told CNN he has mentioned the topic to his Mexican counterparts.
“We are working on determining whether or not certain evidence that has been presented is meeting the standard that’s necessary to be able to hold that young Marine, and we’re trying to find out exactly what the fact pattern is, but we are working on that,” he said.