Republicans are taking to social media to criticize President Joe Biden for securing the release of WNBA star Brittney Griner by freeing a Russian arms dealer who was serving prison time in the U.S. and for failing to free U.S. Marine Paul Whelan in the prisoner swap.
Biden on Thursday morning announced Griner was returning to the U.S. after she spent nearly 10 months in Russian custody, in exchange for the U.S. releasing infamous arms dealer Viktor Bout.
The administration had also sought the release of Whelan, who was arrested in Russia in 2018 on spying charges that he vehemently denies, but Biden on Thursday said Moscow is “treating Paul’s case different than Brittney’s.”
But Republicans quickly issued statements condemning the president and attacking Griner for “hating our country.”
“What kind of a deal is it to swap Brittney Griner, a basketball player who openly hates our Country, for the man known as “The Merchant of Death,” who is one of the biggest arms dealers anywhere in the World, and responsible for tens of thousands of deaths and horrific injuries,” Donald Trump wrote on Truth Social. “Why wasn’t former Marine Paul Whelan included in this totally one-sided transaction? He would have been let out for the asking. What a ‘stupid’ and unpatriotic embarrassment for the USA!!!”
Following in his father’s steps, Donald Trump Jr wrote: “No one cuts better deals than Biden. We get an awful America Hating WNBA player, while Russia gets AN INTERNATIONAL ARMS DEALER!!! The adults are back!”
In a separate post, Trump Jr. wrote: “You guys know how to make sure [Russian President Vladimir] Putin keeps arresting Americans and severely punishing them? Trade him an arms dealer aka ‘The Merchant of Death’ someone guilty of conspiring to kill Americans and aiding a terrorist organization for an America Hating WNBA activist.”
He continued, “Great trade! Our government’s weakness and stupidity will only encourage the abuse of American citizens abroad.”
Meanwhile, Georgia Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene took declared that the swap marks another reason to push for his removal from office.
“Another reason to impeach Biden. The President of the United States traded Russian terrorist arms dealer, Viktor Bout, left a U.S. Marine in Russian jail, and brought home a professional basketball player. How many people will Viktor Bout now kill bc Biden set him free?” she wrote.
Another reason to impeach Biden.
The President of the United States traded Russian terrorist arms dealer, Viktor Bout, left a U.S. Marine in Russian jail, and brought home a professional basketball player.
How many people will Viktor Bout now kill bc Biden set him free?
— Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene🇺🇸 (@RepMTG) December 8, 2022
Rep. Mike Rogers (R-Ala.), the House Armed Services Committee ranking member, also slammed Biden for “allowing Viktor Bout, a dangerous arms dealer who was convicted of conspiring to kill American law enforcement, to walk free. This move to appease Vladimir Putin will only encourage further hostage taking by Russian security forces,” Rogers added.
Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC), tweeted: “It is a bitter pill to swallow that Mr. Whelan remains in custody while we release the ‘Merchant of Death’ Viktor Bout back to Russia.”
Paul is a former Marine who has been unjustly accused of spying for the United States.
It is a bitter pill to swallow that Mr. Whelan remains in custody while we release the “Merchant of Death” Viktor Bout back to Russia.
— Lindsey Graham (@LindseyGrahamSC) December 8, 2022