Biden Torched for Trading the 'Merchant of Death' for 'A Basketball Player'


WNBA player Brittney Griner is heading back to the U.S. 10 months after being detained in Russia on drug charges as part of a prisoner swap.

President Joe Biden delivered remarks on Thursday morning celebrating the news of Griner’s release.

However, the conditions of the exchange are not going over well with some on Twitter.

The U.S. agreed to swap Viktor Bout, an arms dealer who was convicted of conspiring to kill Americans in 2011, in exchange for Griner.

Marc Lotter, the chief communications officer at the conservative America First Policy Institute, tweeted, “The President traded a terrorist and arms dealer known as the ‘Merchant of Death,’ who sold weapons intended to kill Americans, for a basketball player.”

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“While a former U.S. Marine rots in Russian custody. Joe Biden’s foreign policy is an embarrassment, feckless, and a disgrace!” he added.

National Review’s Jim Geraghty wrote, “And all it cost the U.S. was putting the world’s most notorious arms dealer, with a near-ocean of blood on his hands, who equipped armies of child soldiers and sold weapons to al-Qaeda and the Taliban, back on the metaphorical streets.”

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Conservative radio host Clay Travis tweeted, “We gave Russia ‘The Merchant of Death,’ we got back a WNBA player who hates America. This is the worst trade in history.”

Richard Grenell, the former acting director of National Intelligence, wrote, “Joe Biden admits Vladimir Putin dictated the exchange: ‘This was not a choice of which American to bring home,’ Biden said.”

“Putin wanted the Merchant of Death home in Russia and only offered a basketball player who carried pot in her luggage as a swap,” he added.

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Sen. Rick Scott (R-Fla.) tweeted, “I’m glad Brittney is coming home …but what about U.S. Marine vet Paul Whelan? He’s still held by Putin in Russia. For Biden to give Putin a dangerous arms dealer – someone known as the ‘Merchant of Death’ – is weak [and] disgusting. Doing so while leaving Paul behind is unforgivable.”

Several people noted that retired U.S. Marine Paul Whelan has been detained in Russia since 2018 on charges of spying.

Biden said on Thursday the U.S. has “not forgotten about Paul Whelan, who has been unjustly detained in Russia for years.” He added, “We’ll keep negotiating in good faith for Paul’s release. I guarantee that. I say that to the family.”

Meanwhile, Yahoo News’ Michael Weiss noted Bout was “once the most wanted international criminal after Osama bin Laden (whom he very likely armed). A former GRU officer, there was hardly a war in the 90s he didn’t pour guns and weapons into.”

CBS News’ “60 Minutes” shared a 2010 interview with Mike Braun, the former chief of operations for the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA).

“Viktor Bout, in my eyes, is one of the most dangerous men on the face of the earth,” Baun said.

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