A debate has flared up in the US over the significance of the White House’s insistence on swapping American basketball player Brittney Grainer for Russian businessman Viktor Bout instead of former US soldier Paul Whelan.
White House press secretary Karen Jean-Pierre said in a press statement that the US administration has a choice: replace Russian Viktor Bout with Britney Grainer, an American basketball player convicted in Russia for drug trafficking, or not make the exchange at all.
She said she personally considers American basketball player Britney Greener to be a special role model and she says she is “an inspiration to millions of Americans, especially American gays and women of color.”
As for the American comedian Terrence Williams, he responded to the White House press secretary, expressing the opinion of the American public, saying: “Let’s be honest, Britney Grainer, Grainer or whatever her name is, she is not a hero. the ball doesn’t make you a hero Hitting the ball doesn’t make you a role model The white house pours all that shit on me They let the marine go He was supposed to be the first to get home on that plane.”
The American comedian criticized the basketball player, saying: “What did Britney do? Besides spitting on the flag, what have you done besides spitting on America? She doesn’t respect America. She doesn’t love this country, she hates it. And we decided to bring her back instead of the Marine? Someone who really loves this country, someone who really risked his life, someone who left his family to fight for you, me and Britney.”
In 2020, a Russian court sentenced former US Navy soldier Paul Whelan to 16 years hard labor on charges of espionage. A year and a half ago, in early 2019, Whelan, 48, was arrested in a Moscow hotel with an electronic drive that security officials said contained state secrets. Two years ago, a Moscow court found Whelan guilty of obtaining classified information.
It is noteworthy that this former US Marine Corps soldier has three nationalities: American, British and Irish. He was born in Canada to British parents who moved to the United States as a child.
In a statement to CNN, Whelan expressed his disappointment that the Biden administration left him in Russia after the release of Britney Grainer, noting that he was surprised that he was not included in the prisoner exchange deal.
The former US Marine Corps member expressed his feelings of “great disappointment that nothing more has been done to secure my release, especially as the fourth anniversary of my arrest approaches.”
As for former US President Donald Trump, he went even further, calling the process of exchanging Britney Grenier, a basketball player convicted in Russia for drug trafficking, for Russian citizen Viktor Bout, a national disgrace.
Trump expressed this sentiment on the website Truth Social, stating, “What a shame, stupidity, and unpatriotic act for the United States.”