On Thursday, the United States orchestrated the release of Brittney Griner from a Russian penal colony. In return, the United States agreed to the release of arms dealer Viktor Bout. As details of the agreement were shared with the press, some celebrated the deal while others criticized it.
“[I am] grateful for the long-overdue release of Brittney Griner today from Russian custody. Kudos to [President Joe Biden] and his administration for the difficult diplomatic work involved to make it happen. We’re looking forward to having Brittney back home,” former President Barack Obama tweeted.
“‘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,” Rep. Kevin McCarthy tweeted.
Throughout the day, praise and critique of the agreement poured in. White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre offered a response to McCarthy and those who have expressed similar sentiments during a recent press briefing.
“The question has been placed to us is … do we have security concerns, right?” White House Press Secretary Jean-Pierre said in regards to the release of Bout.
“And what we have said is that the president did not make this decision lightly — just want to make that very clear — but he believed it was the right thing to secure Brittney’s release. And we are going to stay vigilant.”