The National Security Council’s Strategic Communications Coordinator John Kirby defended the controversial prisoner swap between “Merchant of Death” Viktor Bout and American WNBA player Brittney Griner.
As a result of being caught with marijuana vaping materials in a Moscow airport, Griner was arrested in February and sentenced to nine years in prison in August. In 2011, Bout was convicted of conspiring to sell weapons to a designated foreign terrorist group for use in killing Americans.
The deal has been criticized by many Americans upset that former Marine Paul Whelan remains detained in Russia. In 2018, Whelan was jailed on espionage charges the U.S. government said were unfounded.
According to the Daily Wire, During a Sunday appearance on ABC’s “This Week,” Kirby addressed bipartisan criticism of the exchange, particularly Sen. Bob Menendez’s (D-NJ) remarks calling it “deeply disturbing.”
Republicans and Americans across the country are slamming the deal, as they rightfully should.
For example, former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo discussed the prisoner swap while appearing on FOX News this weekend, comparing Biden’s disgraceful move to that of the former policy for prisoner swaps under former President Trump.
In addition, Kevin McCarthy called the deal a “big win for [Russian President Vladimir] Putin” and said that Biden “left a Marine behind.”
The Biden administration’s recent prisoner exchange with Russia has been nothing short of disgraceful. On live television, Kirby attempted to justify the disgraced deal that freed U.S. WNBA player Brittney Griner, at the cost of Marine Paul Whelan still detained in Russia. Sadly, this sends a clear message–that no service members should expect President Biden to fight for their return home. The situation is unacceptable and the Biden administration must bring back Paul Whelan now and do everything possible to protect our fellow service members from similar actions if it wants to truly serve its citizens.