Former President Donald Trump weighed in on President Joe Biden’s prisoner swap of Brittney Griner, who smuggled a minuscule amount of cannabis oil into Russia, with Viktor Bout, a man known as the “Merchant of Death.”
Aside from the absurdity of trading Bout – a Russian arms dealer convicted in 2011 for conspiracy to kill U.S. citizens and officials, delivery of anti-aircraft missiles, and providing aid to a terrorist organization – for Griner, Trump insisted he even turned down a one-for-one trade for former U.S. Marine Paul Whelan.
“I turned down a deal with Russia for a one-on-one swap of the so-called Merchant of Death for Paul Whelan,” he wrote on his Truth Social media platform.
Trump added, “I wouldn’t have made the deal for a hundred people in exchange for someone that has killed untold numbers of people with his arms deals.”
Still, he insists he would “have gotten Paul out,” and further claimed that he would have gotten Griner released without giving up Bout.
RELATED: Dana Loesch: Americans in Russian Prisons Could Get Out if They Act ‘As Anti-American as Brittney Griner’
Trump Turned Down Viktor Bout Trade Offer
A former Trump administration official told the Washington Examiner that Trump had turned down several trade proposals involving Viktor Bout.
“We rejected several deals with the Russians. All of them involved giving up Viktor Bout, so we wouldn’t do it,” the official explained.
Support Conservative Voices!
Sign up to receive the latest political news, insight, and commentary delivered directly to your inbox.
Another individual described as a former senior Trump official disputed that notion, suggesting the Russians had never proposed such a one-on-one trade because “Moscow knew Trump would never accept a deal to release Bout.”
That official also said Russia viewed Bout as a “top priority.”
Biden’s trade was so woefully lopsided that not only did he give Bout away, but he only managed to get Griner in return, leaving Whelan to languish in a Russian prison.
One has to wonder what the media reaction would be right now if Trump had tried to exchange a Russian arms dealer for a right-wing celebrity.
WATCH: The release of Brittney Griner has some critics questioning whether the Biden admin. prioritized Griner’s release over Paul Whelan, who has been detained since 2018.
Secy. Blinken: “This was not a choice of which American to bring home. This was one or none.” pic.twitter.com/7zairbUlVp
— Meet the Press (@MeetThePress) December 9, 2022
Whelan has been detained in Russia since 2018 after authorities alleged he was involved in an intelligence operation. He was convicted and sentenced to 16 years in prison in a trial that has been described as a “sham.”
He was originally part of the trade negotiations as announced by Secretary of State Antony Blinken this past summer.
Meaning the Biden administration actually dropped him from the negotiations.
Trump called WNBA star Brittney Griner, “spoiled,” and implied he wouldn’t have made the deal to get her out of prison in Russia. pic.twitter.com/NYcT5e2Kxd
— PatriotTakes 🇺🇸 (@patriottakes) July 31, 2022
RELATED: Trump Torches Biden’s Proposed Russian Prisoner Swap: We’re Supposed to Trade a ‘Spoiled’ Person For a Killer?
Trump Had Better Success
Trump, aside from his bombastic bragging, had some significant success in getting prisoners released when he was President, including one high-profile case involving basketball players.
In 2017, three UCLA basketball players were arrested after they were reportedly caught shoplifting in Hangzhou.
According to the Wall Street Journal at the time, the players were facing the possibility of “serving up to ten years for allegedly stealing from a Louis Vuitton store.”
Trump, who happened to be on a diplomatic trip to Asia at the time, spoke directly to Chinese President Xi Jinping on the matter, and the players were released pretty quickly – in approximately a week.
Do you think the three UCLA Basketball Players will say thank you President Trump? They were headed for 10 years in jail!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) November 15, 2017
Larry Scott, PAC-12 commissioner, of which UCLA is a member, thanked those involved in the release of the three basketball players, including President Trump.
“We are grateful for the role that our Chinese hosts played, and for the courtesy and professionalism of the local authorities,” Scott said. “We also want to acknowledge UCLA’s significant efforts on behalf of their student-athletes.”
“Finally,” he added, “we want to thank the President, the White House, and the US State Department for their efforts towards resolution.”
In a 2020 RNC video, Trump bragged that he “brought back over 50 hostages from 22 different countries” during his time as president.
Now is the time to support and share the sources you trust.
The Political Insider ranks #3 on Feedspot’s “100 Best Political Blogs and Websites.”