The United States Army has charged Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl with desertion and "misbehavior before the enemy." Bergdahl allegedly abandoned his post in Afghanistan and was held captive by Taliban-aligned forces for nearly five years before the Obama administration negotiated a deal with the Taliban forces. Bergdahl returned to the United States in 2014 in exchange for the release of five high-ranking and highly dangerous Taliban commanders. President Obama made the announcement in a highly dramatic fashion, with a speech in the Rose Garden flanked by Bergdahl's parents.
Plenty of Republicans criticized the trade, and even some Democrats raised questions about the nature of the exchange. But along with prominent members of the administration, several other Democrats were unequivocal in their praise for the exchange at the time and celebrated Bergdahl's service in the Army.
Hillary Clinton, Obama's former secretary of state, defended the deal in the days following. Clinton dismissed claims at the time that Bergdahl had deserted as "irrelevant." "We bring our people home," she said. Obama's national security adviser Susan Rice said Bergdahl had served with "honor and distinction."
Congressional leaders were effusive in their praise as well.
“Today is a joyful day for our nation," said House minority leader Nancy Pelosi in a May 31 statement. "As Sgt. Bergdahl returns home, we join in celebrating his safe return, and in expressing our gratitude for the relentless dedication of all the service members, intelligence officers, and diplomats who worked so hard to make this day a reality."
Senator Harry Reid of Nevada, then the majority leader, took to the Senate floor on June 4 to castigate Republicans criticizing the exchange. "As the president said, this is not a victory for him. It is a victory for the United States military and our country," said Reid.
Praise for the deal was not limited to members of Congress. New Hampshire's Democratic governor Maggie Hassan, who is likely to challenge Republican senator Kelly Ayotte in 2016, issued a statement to celebrate Bergdahl's return. “Sergeant Bergdahl’s release is incredibly heartening news, and I am sure his family and loved ones are overcome with joy that they will soon be reunited," said Hassan in a May 31 statement. "His dedication and resilience represent the very best of all our service members, and I join all Americans in thanking him for his service, bravery and sacrifice.”