‘Celebrity culture received’: Critics slam Joe Biden for leaving Paul Whelan in returning Brittney Griner

President Biden brokered a prisoner trade with Russia to safe the discharge of WNBA star Brittney Griner on Thursday, however the deal was criticized as a result of it didn’t embody Marine veteran Paul Whelan, who’s detained in a Russian jail with no clear timetable for launch.

Mr. Whelan has been in Russian custody since 2018, when he was sentenced to 16 years in jail on espionage costs. The U.S. authorities and Mr. Whelan’s household say these costs have been manufactured.

Mr. Whelan’s household has pushed the Biden administration to be extra aggressive about getting him launched. His destiny had grow to be linked to Ms. Griner, a basketball famous person who had been arrested for bringing vape cartridges containing hashish oils, as advocates sought freedom for each.

On Thursday, Ms. Griner was freed when the Biden administration accomplished a prisoner trade for convicted Russian arms supplier Viktor Bout.

News that Mr. Whelan’s freedom can be ignored of the deal was met with a pointy rebuke from critics.

“Forgive me if I don’t see this as a day of celebration and rejoicing. All that happened is that celebrity culture won out over those who put their lives on the line for the celebrities,” stated Allen West, a former Republican congressman from Florida.

SEE ALSO: Brittney Griner for Viktor Bout: WNBA star freed in U.S.-Russia prisoner swap

Rep. Adam Kinzinger, Illinois Republican, additionally lambasted the Biden administration, saying it was seeking to rating political factors by focusing consideration on the extra high-profile prisoner.

“So a basketball star is released, we can celebrate, but what about Paul Whelan? An American unjustly detained for years. Might not be high profile but he is innocent. This is a dangerous road,” Mr. Kinzinger posted on Twitter.

“Surely an arms dealer is worth two innocent people,” he wrote.

Rep. Maya Flores, Texas Republican, merely requested on social media, “What about retired U.S. Marine Paul Whelan?”

Bring Our Families Home, a company that advocates for the households of Americans held hostage or wrongfully detained abroad, referred to as Ms. Griner’s return “long overdue.” However, the group additionally stated its coronary heart breaks for the Whelan household.

“Paul Whelan has been let down and left behind at least three times by two Presidents. He deserves better from his government, and our Campaign implores President Biden to urgently secure Paul’s immediate return using all tools available,” the group stated.

At a press convention Thursday, Mr. Biden insisted his administration has not forgotten about Mr. Whelan.

“We never forgot about Brittney. We’ve not forgotten about Paul Whalen, who’s been unjustly detained in Russia for years,” Mr. Biden stated in remarks on the White House. “This was not a choice of which American to bring home. … Sadly, for totally illegitimate reasons, Russia is treating Paul’s case differently than Brittney. And while we have not yet succeeded in securing Paul’s release, we are not giving up. We will never give up.”

In an announcement, Mr. Whelan’s brother, David Whelan, congratulated Ms. Griner on her launch however stated his household is “devastated” over the administration’s failure to launch his brother.

“The Biden Administration made the right decision to bring Ms. Griner home, and to make the deal that was possible, rather than waiting for one that wasn’t going to happen,” he wrote.

“Despite the possibility that there might be an exchange without Paul, our family is still devastated. I can’t even fathom how Paul will feel when he learns. Paul has worked so hard to survive nearly 4 years of this injustice,” David Whelan stated.

“How do you continue to survive, day after day, when you know that your government has failed twice to free you from a foreign prison?” he added.

Back to top button