Obama on Bergdahl Criticism: 'I Make Absolutely No Apologies'
President Obama spoke from the G7 Summit in Brussels this morning, taking some questions alongside British Prime Minister David Cameron. The president was asked about the criticism he has received for releasing five Taliban leaders in exchange for Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl, who was held in Afghanistan for the past five years.
The president again pointed to Bergdahl's poor health, and said he makes "absolutely no apologies" for acting to get the Army sergeant back.
"We had a prisoner of war whose health had deteriorated and we were deeply concerned about and we saw an opportunity and we seized it and I make no apologies for that. We had discussed with Congress the possibility that something like this might occur, but because of the nature of the folks that we were dealing with and the fragile nature of these negotiations, we felt it was important to go ahead and do what we did. And we're now explaining to Congress the details of how we moved forward," said Obama.
He said the controversy being "whipped up in Washington" is not surprising to him and "par for the course."
The president pointed to a "basic principle" that the United States does not leave soldiers behind. He then defended announcing the prisoner exchange alongside Bergdahl's parents, saying it is not supposed to be a "political football."
Critics have called out the administration for the announcement amid allegations from fellow soldiers that Bergdahl deserted his unit.
"You have a couple of parents whose kid volunteered to fight in a distant land, who they hadn't seen in five years and weren't sure whether they'd ever see again. And as commander-in-chief of the United States Armed Forces, I am responsible for those kids. And I get letters from parents who say 'if you are in fact sending my child into war, make sure that that child is being taken care of and I write too many letters to folks who unfortunately don't see their children again after fighting a war. I make absolutely no apologies for making sure that we get back a young man to his parents and that the American people understand that this is somebody's child. And that we don't condition whether or not we make the effort to try to get them back."
Watch the president's remarks above, and tune in to The Kelly File, tonight at 9p/12a ET for Megyn's exclusive interview with six members of Bergdahl's platoon.
The latest on the Bergdahl exchange from Fox News: