White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre was schooled at a Wednesday press conference when the subject of the Brittney Grimes trade for the “merchant of death” was brought up by none other than Fox News’ Peter Doocy. Watch:
Doocy to WH Press Sec:
"In this prisoners swap, why did Russia get such a better deal?"
— OutKick (@Outkick) December 8, 2022
“Here were our choices: Our choices were Brittney or no one at all,” KJP claimed. “Bringing home one American or no American at all. And that’s, that’s —”
“They gave up a professional athlete,” Doocy objected. “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,” KJP retorted.
Lame. Here is what that American citizen had to say about the national anthem in 2020, by the way.
“I honestly feel we should not play the National Anthem during our season,” she said. “I think we should take that much of a stand.”
“I don’t mean that in any disrespect to our country. My dad was in Vietnam and a law officer for 30 years. I wanted to be a cop before basketball. I do have pride for my country.”
Griner added that she would walk off the court if the Star-Spangled Banner was played.
“I’m going to protest regardless,” she said. “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. I feel like more are going to probably do the same thing. I can only speak for myself.
“At the Olympics, I understand, you’re playing for your country at that point,” she added.
League MVP Brittney Griner remained in the locker room for the anthem before all games that season.
The White House, nonetheless, celebrated the return of Griner with her significant other.
Moments ago I spoke to Brittney Griner.
She is safe.
She is on a plane.
She is on her way home. pic.twitter.com/FmHgfzrcDT
— President Biden (@POTUS) December 8, 2022
The WNBA, nonetheless, reacted to the news of Griner’s release.
“There has not been a day over the past ten months where we all haven’t had Brittney Griner on our minds and in our hearts and that has now turned into a collective wave of joy and relief knowing that she will soon be reunited with her family, the WNBA player community, and her friends,” WNBA commissioner Cathy Engelbert said in a statement. “BG has shown extraordinary courage and dignity in the face of enormous adversity. The WNBA is grateful beyond measure to the Biden Administration, the Special Presidential Envoy for Hostage Affairs, and all those who played a role in bringing BG home today. Our hope is that Paul Whelan and every wrongfully detained American will be returned home safely and as soon as possible.”
NBA commissioner Adam Silver said Griner “has had to endure an unimaginable situation and we’re thrilled that she is on her way home to her family and friends.” He also thanked the “NBA and WNBA community” for their efforts to maintain awareness of Griner.
ESPN framed Griner’s arrest in February as “the most high-profile American jailed abroad.”
“Her status as a gay Black woman, locked up in a country where authorities have been hostile to the LGBTQIA+ community, infused gender, racial and social dynamics into her legal saga and made each development a matter of international importance,” ESPN editorialized.
However, there was a U.S. Marine that was left behind in Russia, as Dallas Cowboys’ star linebacker Micah Parsons pointed out.
“Wait nah!! We left a marine?!! Hell nah,” Parsons posted to his Twitter account.
Paul Whelan, a U.S. Marine veteran, was not involved in the Griner exchange. Whelan was sentenced to 16 years in 2018 for espionage charges.
Parsons later had to take to Twitter for his “struggle session” to say that he was “educated” on the matter and walked his statement back.
Just spoke to some people that I respect and trust. I should have been more educated on the topic and not tweeted out of emotion for my family and other who have served. For that I apologize. Also if what I’m told about the attempts to bring Ret Marine Paul Whelan home are true
— Micah Parsons (@MicahhParsons11) December 8, 2022
“Just spoke to some people that I respect and trust,” Parsons said. “I should have been more educated on the topic and not tweeted out of emotion for my family and other who have served. For that I apologize. Also if what I’m told about the attempts to bring Ret Marine Paul Whelan home are true then the best outcome was accomplished. I pray Mr. Whelan comes home but am extremely happy for Brittney and her family. I am not too prideful to admit when I’ve made a mistake.”
Parsons didn’t make a mistake, however. The man Biden traded for a professional female athlete, Victor Bout, also known as the “merchant of death,” is a former Soviet military officer who was serving a 25-year prison sentence in the U.S. on charges of conspiring to kill Americans, acquire and export anti-aircraft missiles, and provide material support to a terrorist organization.
The Biden administration just released the “merchant of death” in the middle of a proxy war against Russia in exchange for Griner, while leaving a Marine behind. It’s just another disastrous day for this feckless and incompetent White House.