A guest on MSNBC explained to host Alicia Menendez that it was “un-American” to have any criticism of Biden’s swap of Russian arms dealer Viktor Bout for U.S. basketball star Brittney Griner.
The deal, which returned one of Russia’s most notorious arms dealers nicknamed the “Merchant of Death,” did not include Paul Whelan, who is being held in Russia on trumped-up espionage charges.
The New York Times attributed questions on the wisdom of the swap to “fraught arenas of race, gender and sexual orientation” caused by “make-no-concessions partisanship when large swaths of the American public are steeped in the grievance politics and adversary demonization of Mr. Trump and his acolytes.”
On CNN, political contributor and Democratic strategist James Carville said he believes any criticism of the swap is about Griner’s race and sexual orientation. “Does anyone in their right mind think that if Brittney was a blonde Chi Omega from SMU that the reaction would’ve been the same? Of course not,” he said. He went on to say that most people criticizing the swap are “pro-Putin, anti-Ukraine.
— Bo Snerdley (@BoSnerdley) December 11, 2022
The New York Times reports that Bout, whose story was covered in the Hollywood movie “Lord of War,” was convicted in 2011 of conspiracy to kill U.S. citizens and officials with his indiscriminate arms sales, which armed both anti-American terrorist organizations and pro-American insurgents like Angola’s UNITA. He provided arms for the brutal war against civilians in Liberia, in which an estimated 300,000 people lost their lives.
On Fox News, Tucker Carlson blasted the White House over the swap and mocked White House secretary Karine Jean-Pierre’s comments about Griner being “an important role model” for women of color and the LGBTQ community.
Biden’s publicist says America-hating Brittney Griner "is an important role model, an inspiration to millions of Americans particularly the LGBTQI+ Americans and women of color." pic.twitter.com/9EHeLJJlTZ
— American Firebrand (@AmFirebrand) December 8, 2022
Carlson went on to say that the facts about Griner’s race and sexual identity are, in the view of the White House press secretary, “essential qualifications for a prisoner swap.”
The editors at the National Review opine, “Trading hard-core criminals, like Bout, for regular civilians will signal to foreign adversaries that Washington will reward their hostage-taking with releases of higher-level prisoners, or a greater number of them. It would appear that Russia has raised its price.”