America’s loudest dingbat is a bull running through the delicate china shop that is a tense prisoner exchange with a country we’re engaged in a proxy war against. Just lovely. While Biden’s State Department is on the verge of bringing Brittney Griner and former Marine Paul Whelan home, Donald Trump’s sixth sense for discord has begun tingling.
As Griner’s detainment heads towards its homestretch, Trump decided now was time to campaign against the government doing everything in its power to free an American political prisoner. Over the weekend, Trump called into The Troll Time “Clay Travis and Buck Sexton Show” to spew his brand of hateful drivel and was asked about Griner.
Via The Advocate:
“She went in there loaded up with drugs into a hostile territory where they’re very vigilant about drugs,” Trump said of Griner, the center for the Phoenix Mercury. “They don’t like drugs. And she got caught. And now we’re supposed to get her out — and she makes, you know, a lot of money, I guess.”
“It certainly doesn’t seem like a very good trade, does it?” he continued. “[Bout is] an absolute — one of the worst in the world, and he’s going to be given his freedom because a potentially spoiled person goes into Russia loaded up with drugs.”
Trump taking Russia’s side against the interests of Americans is nothing new. It’s just happening on a smaller scale now that he’s a private citizen again. Misrepresenting facts is his origin story. For months, his sycophants have sworn that “if Trump were President,” Griner would be home by now. Not only do we know that’s false, but he comes across like a guy who’d trade her back if he became president again. Of course, given Trump’s penchant for attacking Black athletes when he thinks it will score him points with his base (see, e.g., Colin Kaepernick), none of this should be surprising.
It’s always instructive to hear a con man who handed out pardons to his cronies, facing charges for fraud and serving time for a number of severe offenses would suddenly take a hard stance on Americans facing a decade in prison for vape cartridges containing hashish oil. But yes, Griner must suffer. His hyperbole about Griner loading up on drugs is the exact type of braindead nonsense that’s been spread by his base for months. He merely latches onto the most toxic perspectives to cross his path and he takes them a step further.
Presumably, he and the ilk should be against Paul Whelan being exchanged for a criminal who’s already facing parole after serving half his sentence. At the very least, his animus for Americans in Russian prisons should have some consistency. Whelan was also ignored by Trump during his presidency, so not much has changed in that regard. In Trump’s worldview, the average person isn’t even worth knowing.
If there’s one thing Trump looks in the mirror and convinces he’s knowledgeable about, it’s dealmaking. That misguided confidence is why he released 5,000 Taliban prisoners to begin peace talks in Afghanistan. His blackmail in Ukraine didn’t work out so well. He ripped up the Iranian nuclear treaty, which in turn compelled Iran to expand the nuclear program, which Trump railed against. Critics of Griner have always grossly misunderstood the point of a criminal exchange isn’t a quid-pro-quo or swapping equal criminals. Trump is not a rational actor and it’s always best to do the opposite of his recommendations.