Former President Donald Trump says a reported plan to swap detained WNBA star Brittney Griner for convicted Russian arms dealer Viktor Bout “doesn’t seem like a very good trade.”
Trump made the comment Friday during an interview on the conservative “Clay Travis & Buck Sexton Show.”
“She went in there loaded up with drugs into a hostile territory where they’re very vigilant about drugs. They don’t like drugs. And she got caught,” Trump told the radio hosts. “And now we’re supposed to get her out — and she makes, you know, a lot of money, I guess.”
Bout is known as the “Merchant of Death,” after his weapons sales reportedly fueled deadly conflicts around the world. He’s currently serving a 25-year prison sentence in the U.S.
The Biden administration is said to have offered to send Bout home, in exchange for the release of Griner and jailed American Paul Whelan.
But Trump insisted the plan is a bad idea.
“We’re supposed to get her out for an absolute killer and one of the biggest arms dealers in the world. Killed many Americans. Killed many people,” he continued.
The former president added about Bout, “… now he’s going to be given his freedom because a potentially spoiled person goes into Russia loaded up with drugs.”
Griner, an Olympic gold medalist, was detained at Moscow Airport on Feb. 17, after Russian officials said they found vape cartridges with hashish oil in her luggage. She pleaded guilty to drug possession and smuggling charges earlier this month.
Whelan, a U.S. citizen and former Marine, was arrested in December 2018 on espionage charges, which he and the U.S. government say are false. Whelan, who is described as a corporate security executive, was convicted and sentenced in June 2020 to a 16-year prison sentence. The Biden administration has said Whelan and Griner were both “wrongfully detained.”
Listen to the interview below. Trump also talked about the nation’s high gas prices, the war in Ukraine, the 2020 election, the U.S. withdrawal from Afghanistan, and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi. His comments about Griner at the 7:25 mark.