The US 45th President Donald Trump has criticized the Biden administration for trading Brittney Griner, a prominent player for the US women’s NBA team, for Russian arms dealer Viktor Bout in a deal mediated by Saudi Arabia.
Griner was released on December 8 as part of a prisoner swap with the Biden administration, following nearly a year in Russian custody.
Griner, who was detained in February for bringing hashish oil-infused vape cartridges into the nation, was exchanged for Viktor Bout, a notorious Russian arms dealer serving a 25-year sentence for plotting to kill Americans, prompting many oppositions of president Biden’s administration to claim that Russia received the better part of the deal.
Reacting to the development, Trump took to his social media platform, ‘Truth Social’ to question Biden’s decision saying: “What kind of a deal is it to swap Brittney Griner, a basketball player who openly hates our country for the man known as ‘The Merchant of Death’.”
According to Donald Trump, Paul Whelan, a Canadian-born former United States Marine, should have been released instead of Griner.
“What a stupid and unpatriotic embarrassment for the USA!”, Trump said.
Whelan, a former Marine who holds citizenship in four countries, including the United States, was detained in Russia in 2018 on suspicion of espionage. He was found guilty in 2020 and sentenced to 16 years in jail.
Mr Whelan was arrested while Trump was still in office, just three days after Christmas in 2018.
John Bolton, Trump’s national security adviser, claimed that the trade increases the likelihood that other Americans may be held as leverage by rogue nations.
The 45th US President has previously announced that he will be running in 2024, saying that President Biden has done very badly in governing the country.
Trump has continued to insist that Joe Biden, who was declared the winner of the US 2020 election, was victorious as a result of Electoral fraud and irregularities.