Donald Trump made a not-so-shocking admission in a late-night Truth Social rant Sunday, criticizing President Biden for trading convicted arms dealer Viktor Bout for two-time Olympic gold champion, Brittney Griner.
The ex-prez had no problem bragging that he could have gotten former Marine Paul Whelan released from Russian custody but refused, ranting:
“I turned down a deal with Russia for a one-on-one swap of the so-called Merchant of Death for Paul Whelan,” the ex-President boasted, adding “I would have gotten Paul out, however,
just as I did with a record number of other hostages.”
This an interesting revelation even for the unapologetic truth spinner considering only days before, Trump claimed that if he were President he could have gotten Whelan out “at the asking” and questioned why Whelan was supposedly “left behind.”
The Putin stan spent days praising himself for the hostages he brought home during his administration – something that Whelan’s brother, David, called him out on.
“Former President Trump appears to have mentioned my brother #PaulWhelan’s wrongful detention more in the last 24 hours than he did in the 2 years of his presidency in which Paul was held hostage by #Russia (zero),” David Whelan tweeted. “I don’t suggest he cares now any more than he did then (zero),” Newsweek reported.
Former President Trump appears to have mentioned my brother #PaulWhelan's wrongful detention more in the last 24 hours than he did in the 2 years of his presidency in which Paul was held hostage by #Russia (zero). I don't suggest he cares now any more than he did then (zero) https://t.co/7lnSF0zJxL
— David Whelan (@davidpwhelan) December 9, 2022
Since Griner’s release, Trump hasn’t stopped rage-brag ranting – going back and forth between slamming President Biden’s deal to get her home safely and praising his own accomplishments, falsely claiming that he didn’t give up anything to get nearly 60 hostages released from behind enemy lines.
He must have forgotten that he freed Russian spy Maria Butina and 5000 Taliban, all without getting anything, or anyone, in return – including Whelan and fellow Marine Trevor Reed, whom Biden brought home earlier this year when the former administration failed to even try.
David Whelan has publicly expressed support for the trade that saw the release of at least one American citizen wrongfully detained in Russia.
In an interview on CNN’s This Morning, Whelan told the hosts “It’s great news. Anytime an American comes home, it’s wonderful news, he said. “I’m so glad for Brittney and Cherelle. It’s a wonderful day.”
Right-wing propagandists have been pushing the false narrative that President Biden prioritized the release of Griner because she is a celebrity, black, and a lesbian, adding fuel to an already blazing culture war pitting those in White society against people in marginalized communities – and fanning the flames of a growing “Us v. Them” mentality.
What is never mentioned is that both Whelan and Reed were arrested during the Trump administration, and though he likes to brag about his relationship with Russian President Vladimir Putin, that purported leverage wasn’t used to bring home the two former Marines wrongfully imprisoned in the hostile country.
Whelan’s case is far more complicated than Griner’s, and he was charged with the more serious offense of espionage.
Whelan holds four passports, including British and Irish, and both countries tried to get him released as well, while his commander-in-chief was choosing to play footsie with authoritarian countries instead.
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