Biden to Meet Griner, Whelan Families

Photo: independent

The Facts

  • On Fri., US Pres. Joe Biden met with the families of WNBA star Brittney Griner and security consultant Paul Whelan, who are currently jailed in Russia and considered to be “wrongfully detained” by the US State Department.

  • The White House reportedly hosted Griner’s wife, Cherelle Griner, and Whelan’s sister, Elizabeth Whelan, in the oval office.

The Spin

Republican narrative

While there's no doubt that Griner's sentencing is harsh, the reality is that Americans overseas are subject to foreign laws, as thousands of similar cases can attest to. Biden's unprecedented efforts, including the consideration of a prisoner swap for one of the world's most prolific arms dealers, seems contingent on her fame and political value, rather than the nature of the case — a clear attempt to earn political points at the cost of national security.

Democratic narrative

There's nothing unprecedented about Biden's efforts: prisoner swaps have long been used as a successful strategy to bring detained Americans home, and this policy — which has been applied to both prominent and unknown individuals — shouldn't be abandoned now. The State Dept. has been working diligently for months to free Griner and Whelan, and should continue to do so.

Public figures in this story

Political split



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