The Biden administration was excited Thursday to announce that it had reached a deal with Russia to free WNBA basketball player Brittney Griner from a Russian jail, but critics on social media blasted Biden for giving up a dangerous Russian arms dealer in exchange for a mere basketball player and leaving a U.S. Marine languishing in a Russian jail on top of it.
Griner was arrested in February in a Moscow airport and charged with drug trafficking for having cannabis-infused vape cartridges in her luggage as she was on her way out of the country. By August she was convicted of the charges and sentenced to 9-1/2 years in a Russian prison.
A month ago, she was moved to a harsh Russian forced labor camp where Russian authorities expected her to serve the rest of her nine-years in prison.
The Biden administration claimed throughout this year that it was making overtures to the Russians and trying to get Griner free from her sentence. Finally, after months of inaction, a deal was struck.
But that deal is spurring much criticism since the Russians got a dangerous arms dealer back while all America got was a basketball player. Worse, the prisoner swap notably left behind Paul Whelan, an American and former Marine jailed in Russia in 2018 under purported “espionage” charges. Whelan was sentenced to 16 years.
Twitter exploded with condemnation of the Biden administration for this lopsided prisoner exchange and for leaving a Marine behind while saving a mere basketball player:
Meet Brittney Griner & Marine Paul Whelan.
Both were convicted in Russian courts on dubious charges.
Both serving multi-year sentences in Russian prison.
Brittney hates America
Paul served America
Guess which one Biden traded a terrorist to free?
Semper fi Paul pic.twitter.com/tuP1R6AZpf
— Benny Johnson (@bennyjohnson) December 8, 2022
She’s a black lesbian who hates America. Biden is just bringing another voter back home. https://t.co/2XL3xqOCWL
— Jesse Kelly (@JesseKellyDC) December 8, 2022
Brittney Griner: "I'm going to protest regardless, I'm not going to be out there for the National Anthem. If the league continues to want to play it, that's fine. It will be all season long, I'll not be out there"
Pro Tip: I highly suggest you be out there & STAND!!
— The Nasty Italian🍷🇺🇸 🇹 (@sayitnspinit) December 8, 2022
David Whelan, brother of imprisoned Paul Whelan: "How do you continue to survive,day after day,when you know that your government has failed twice to free you from a foreign prison? I can't imagine he retains any hope that a government will negotiate his freedom at this point…" https://t.co/Skq4hwHmnQ
— Margaret Brennan (@margbrennan) December 8, 2022
Brittney Griner being released in exchange for a convicted arms dealer.
What about Retired U.S. Marine Paul Whelan?
— Mayra Flores (@MayraFlores2022) December 8, 2022
Victor Bout, the man traded for Brittney Griner, was last found guilty, 11 years ago, of conspiring to sell millions of dollars worth of weapons to terrorists in Colombia to assist them in killing Americans.
— Darren Rovell (@darrenrovell) December 8, 2022
It’s the role of peasants like Paul Whelan to bear their suffering so that aristocrats like Brittney Griner might be released
— Will Chamberlain (@willchamberlain) December 8, 2022
This is who Biden swapped for America hating lowlife Brittney Griner: pic.twitter.com/Uubnoku8Ld
— John Cardillo (@johncardillo) December 8, 2022
Viktor Bout for Brittany Griner … and only Brittany Griner? That's great news for Griner, but how did she get priority over Paul Whelan, who's been held since 2018?
BREAKING: Griner swapped for Russian arms dealer, on way back to UShttps://t.co/PdfjorIT1Y
— Ed Morrissey (@EdMorrissey) December 8, 2022
When you live in a country supposedly at very important proxy war with Russia via Ukraine, but we gave the Russians back one of their arms merchants for a woke athlete 99% of Americans couldn't pick out of a police lineup. pic.twitter.com/6khGPRtSgy
— Steve Deace (@SteveDeaceShow) December 8, 2022
Trading Viktor Bout for Brittney Griner is like trading Tom Brady for Bobby Boucher 😂😂😂😂 . Who won that trade !?!? pic.twitter.com/42GcJimfAz
— Derek Brunson (@DerekBrunson) December 8, 2022
We traded a Russian Arms dealer Viktor Bout, known as the "Merchant of Death" to Russia for the release Brittney Griner…
1) I never want to hear the words "Gun Control" come from Biden's mouth again after this one
2) US Marine Paul Whelan is still imprisoned in Russia.
— Shawn Farash ❌🐻 (@Shawn_Farash) December 8, 2022
We just traded “The Merchant of Death” Viktor Bout, a man who sold arms to warlords, for Brittney Griner, a WNBA player.
This may be the worst trade deal in history.
— Collin Rugg (@CollinRugg) December 8, 2022
The #BrittneyGriner trade is Biden’s version of Obama’s Bergdahl trade. In both cases America got back a nasty anti-American leftist in exchange for some really bad dudes likely to continue to do harm to this country. This is the Democrat playbook!
— Dinesh D'Souza (@DineshDSouza) December 8, 2022
— Steven Crowder (@scrowder) December 8, 2022
America-hating pothead Brittney Griner is being prisoner swapped back to the US for the most dangerous man in the World, Viktor Bout, the Merchant of Death.
Why would Biden do this now?
Exactly when Putin would profit most from having the biggest arms dealer home? pic.twitter.com/B9mD34rv7M
— Sebastian Gorka DrG (@SebGorka) December 8, 2022