The plan to exchange WNBA player Brittney Griner for imprisoned Russian arms dealer Viktor Bout has drawn criticism from former President Donald Trump. “She’s a potentially spoiled person, in my opinion,” he stated.
Last week, it was reported that the Biden administration had offered Russian arms dealer Viktor Bout, who had been given a sentence of 25 years in prison in the United States, for Griner and corporate security executive Paul Whelan, who was imprisoned in Russia for alleged espionage that he denies.
A White House national security spokesman, John Kirby, said that Biden personally authorized the deal to release Griner and Whelan. “The president and his team are prepared to take whatever measures are necessary to bring them home safely,” he added.
“We think it’s critical for the American people to understand how hard President Biden is working to get Brittney Griner and Paul Whelan back home,” he continued.
The swap is months after the United States successfully swapped Konstantin Yaroshen, a convicted Russian pilot, for imprisoned Marine veteran Trevor Reed.
On the Clay Travis and Buck Sexton Show, Trump described Griner as a “potentially spoiled individual” for being irresponsible during her trip to Russia.
“She went into there loaded up with drugs in a hostile environment, where they are extremely vigilant about narcotics. They despise drugs,” Trump claimed. “And she was caught. We’re now supposed to get her out – and she makes a lot of money, I guess – for an incredible killer and one of the world’s largest weapon dealers.”
Griner has been incarcerated in Russia since February when authorities detained her for carrying a CBD-infused vape cartridge in her luggage. She subsequently pled guilty to unlawful drug possession.
Donald Trump was particularly enraged by the prospect of freeing Viktor Bout, who is alleged to have sold weapons to Al Qaeda and the Taliban.
“He’ll get a free card, and we’ll get her,” Trump stated. “She understood you shouldn’t go in there loaded up with drugs, and she acknowledged it. I assume she conceded it without much force because it is what it is.”
“It doesn’t appear to be a very good trade, does it? He’s an absolute– one of the worst in the world, and he’ll be set free because a potential spoilt person enters Russia with drugs.”