While most Americans were happy that WNBA star Brittney Griner was released from a Russian prison in a prisoner exchange involving a notorious Russian arms dealer, there was much consternation over what looked like a bad deal — naturally, the left equated this concern over a lopsided deal to racism as they lionized a professional athlete busted in a foreign country for drug possession.
At Thursday’s press briefing, Fox News correspondent Peter Doocy dared to ask White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre why Russia got such a better deal.
“Look, you know, I’ve talked about this, and I’ll say this again. Here were our choices. Our choices was: Brittney or no one at all,” the president’s spokesperson said, indicating that Russia was dictating the terms. “Bring home one American or no American at all. And that’s —”
“And they give up a professional athlete,” Doocy interjected. “We gave up a prolific arms dealer who was convicted of trying to kill Americans, who is called the “Merchant of Death.”
“The professional athlete is also an American citizen, so let’s not forget that — who deserved…”
"The 'professional athlete' is also an American citizen" — Karine Jean-Pierre hits back at Peter Doocy after he derisively describes Brittney Griner as a "a professional athlete" pic.twitter.com/afnzb5RO7o
— Aaron Rupar (@atrupar) December 8, 2022
“And Paul Whelan is an American citizen. So we could do this all day,” the Fox News reporter interrupted again, referencing the former U.S. Marine who is serving a 16-year sentence in Russia on trumped-up charges of espionage.
“And — and I’ve explained how the Russians have illegally treated, totally illegitimately treated his situation. I’ve been very clear on that. We’ve laid that out for you. And, again, the president felt that this was an opportunity to bring Brittney home,” Jean-Pierre said. “He is going to continue to do everything he can to bring Paul Whelan home, just like he did with Trevor Reed — just like he was able to secure Trevor Reed’s release.”
Doocy would continue to press on the matter, pointing out that Biden “just said a few days ago, he’s not going to call up Vladimir Putin until further notice.”
“We were able to do this through different channels. Right? We were able to do this through different avenues, folks from the U.S. government that were able to make that negotiation, have those conversation and secure Brittney’s return,” Jean-Pierre replied. “So, we have been able to do this. And the president has been committed to getting this done. We are still working to secure Paul Whelan. At this time, we were not able to make that happen. But that does not stop us. That will not stop us in making sure that Paul returns back home safely to his family.”
Given this administration’s track record, it’s not lost on people that Griner is a gay black woman who took a knee during the playing of the national anthem and Whelan is a straight white male who served his nation, a factor that likely doesn’t bode well for the Marine.
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