Over the weekend, former President Donald Trump slammed the Biden administration’s plan with Russian officials to exchange WNBA player, Houston native Brittney Griner and former U.S. Marine Paul Whelan.
Trump specifically blamed Griner for her arrest and said it wasn’t a fair trade for the Russian arms dealer Viktor Bout.
“She went there loaded up with drugs into a hostile territory where their very vigilant about drugs,” Trump said in an interview on the Clay Travis and Buck Sexton Show. “They don’t like drugs. And she got caught.”
For context, Moscow authorities arrested Griner in February after customs allegedly found less than an ounce of vape cartridges in her luggage. The cartridges contained hashish oil, a THC-infused substance.
In court, Griner and her attorney argued the WNBA player accidentally brought the carts from the U.S. to help her deal with pain from prior injuries. Equally important, Griner also claims a doctor prescribed her the drugs to use instead of taking more potent pain medicine.
THC and marijuana are legal in Arizona Griner’s current state of residency, where she plays center for the Phoenix Mercury.
Despite medical marijuana being legal in the U.S., all THC products are banned in Russia. Griner pleaded guilty to the crime and, if convicted, could face up to 10 years in prison.
And like many female athletes, Griner played aboard for more compensation because of the pay disparities between male and female professional athletes – a notion Trump forgot to mention in his appearance on the show.
“And she makes a lot of money, I guess, but we’re supposed to get her out for an absolute killer and one of the biggest arms dealers in the world,” Trump added.
Nevertheless, Trump called Griner “potentially spoiled” without context on precisely what that means.
“I certainly doesn’t seem like a very good trade, does it,” Trump said. “He’s absolutely one of the worst in the world, and he’s gonna be given his freedom because a potentially spoiled person goes into Russian loaded up with drugs.”
Texas Democrats, former and current professional athletes, criminal justice advocates, and more have been at the forefront of amplifying Griner’s story with the hope of bringing her home.
Photo: Gage Skidmore/Wikimedia Commons
Kennedy is a recent graduate of the University of St.Thomas in Houston where she served as Editor-in-Chief of the Celt Independent. Kennedy brings her experience of writing about social justice issues to the Texas Signal where she serves as our Political Reporter. She does everything from covering crime beats, Texas politics, and community activism. Kennedy is a passionate reporter, avid reader, coffee enthusiast, and loves to travel.