On Thursday morning, it was announced that WNBA play Brittney Griner had been released from a Russian prison in a prisoner exchange for notorious Russian arms dealer Viktor Bout, known as the “Merchant of Death.” As the Biden regime is patting themselves on the back for a job well done, Paul Whelan, a former US Marine, has been wrongfully imprisoned in Russia for four years.

Paul Whelan

Whelan was arrested in December 2018 while on a tourist trip to Moscow. He was arrested on spying charges and, in 2020, was convicted and sentenced to 16 years in a maximum security prison. The US government has publicly said that these charges are baseless.

Initially, the Biden administration had suggested an exchange with Russia for both Griner and Paul Whelan, but it seems that Russia would only allow a one-for-one exchange, and the US government chose the former.

This is the second time that the former Michigan resident has been overlooked for release by the Biden administration. In April 2022, former US Marine Trevor Reed was released in a prisoner swap after spending three years in a Russian prison for allegedly endangering the “life and health” of Russian police officers during an altercation. Both Reed and his family denied the validity of these accusations.

After this swap, Whelan publically wondered why he was left out of this deal.

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“Why was I left behind?” asked Whelan. “While I am pleased Trevor is home with his family, I have been held on a fictitious charge of espionage for 40 months.”

“The world knows this charge was fabricated. Why hasn’t more been done to secure my release?” he asked.

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Now he is speaking out again against the Biden administration for abandoning him again, while he has pled for years for the White House to bring him home. Republicans are joining the fight, accusing Biden of prioritizing celebrities over our veterans.

Adding to the ridiculousness of the Biden regime’s decision is that Griner actually committed the offense for which she was imprisoned. Meanwhile, the US government has dismissed the charges brought against Whalen as baseless. Yet, they prioritized Griner’s release.

In a phone call to CNN, Whelan said, “I am greatly disappointed that more has not been done to secure my release, especially as the four-year anniversary of my arrest is coming up. I was arrested for a crime that never occurred. I don’t understand why I’m still sitting here.”

“My bags are packed. I’m ready to go home. I just need an airplane to come and get me,” said Whelan. “It’s quite obvious that I’m being held hostage.”

Republican leader Kevin McCarthy posted a message to Twitter expressing his frustration with the Biden administration’s decision. He wrote,

“‘Merchant of Death’ – That’s the nickname of the prisoner Biden returned to Putin. He was convicted of conspiring to kill American law enforcement. This is a gift to Vladimir Putin, and it endangers American lives. Leaving Paul Whelan behind for this is unconscionable.”

US Rep. and former Green Beret Mike Waltz (R) also shared his thoughts on the recent prisoner exchange. He posted a series of tweets condemning the decision to leave Whelan behind, saying “Where is U.S. Marine Paul Whelan, who has been unjustly held by Russia for far longer? Celebrities over veterans?”

“This is absolutely shameful,” added Waltz. “The Whelan family has waited years for Paul’s return and the Biden Administration is giving priority to a celebrity over a veteran.”

“Please educate me on why it makes sense that we swapped a Russian arms dealer – responsible for so much death – for Brittany over Paul? Paul broke no Russian laws and has been imprisoned for much longer,” Waltz said.

However, David Whelan, Paul’s brother, maintained his composure when talking about the release of Griner, saying his family was “glad that Brittney Griner is on her way home,” although he added that they are still disappointed that it is without Paul.

“I can’t even fathom how Paul will feel when he learns,” David added. “His hopes had soared with the knowledge that the US government was taking concrete steps for once towards his release.”

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