Paul Whelan’s brother slams Trump for hypocrisy of prisoner swap, points to Trump’s bold inaction
“What kind of deal is it to trade Brittney Griner, a basketball player who openly hates our country, for the man known as ‘The Merchant of Death,’ who is one of the biggest dealers in weapons in the world and responsible for tens of thousands of horrific deaths and injuries. Why wasn’t former Marine Paul Whelan included in this totally unilateral transaction? He would have been released upon request. What an embarrassment” stupid” and unpatriotic for the United States!!!”
Hmm, well, if he could have been released for the request, it’s kind of weird that Trump apparently never asked. After all, Whelan was apprehended in Russia in 2018, when Donald Trump was still claiming to be president.
And guess what! Whelan’s family noticed. Whelan’s twin brother David calls out Trump for suddenly standing up for Paul after there is nothing more he can do about it.
For non tweeters:
Former President Trump seems to have mentioned my brother #PaulWhelanwrongful detention more in the past 24 hours than he has in the 2 years of his presidency in which Paul was held hostage by #Russia (zero). I’m not suggesting he cares more now than he did then (zero)
And then there was Whelan’s sister, Elizabeth. According to a November 2019 article in Atlantic, Elizabeth Whelan got nowhere when she tried to convince the Trump White House to pay more attention to her brother’s case. So imagine how she must feel when she hears the phlegmatic asshole who was president when he was captured say he could have been freed with a simple phone call.
She has made some inroads into the Capitol, where last month the House passed a resolution calling on Russia to present “credible evidence” against Paul, or release him from prison. But overall, she found that both senior and lower-ranking officials were skittish about the subject. “I would say we have a problem with Russia, in the sense that a lot of people don’t want to engage in a topic that has the word Russia involved,” Elizabeth told me after her meeting with Urban, which I attended. “I might as well take a couch passed out and smell the salts with me.”
Granted, there is never a good time for an American citizen to be detained in Russia. But given the Trump administration’s complicated, unpredictable and often deferential relationship with the Kremlin, Elizabeth finds it hard to imagine a worse one. Earlier this summer, Paul used a brief Moscow court appearance to ask President Donald Trump for help with his case. “Tweet your intentions,” he pleaded from inside a glass cage. Yet the president remained silent. (The White House did not respond to requests for comment on this story.)
So while the Biden administration acknowledged Whelan’s predicament and pledged to continue working to bring him home, Trump apparently needed to preserve his tweet time for more important matters, like the dismal ratings of the Oscars.
Meanwhile, David Whelan told the Canadian Broadcasting Co. he had nothing but positive feelings for Griner and his family.
“Every family of a wrongful inmate feels good for another wrongful inmate coming home, knowing they are back with their loved ones,” he said. “We hope this will finally be our day.”
We hope so too, David. If only Donald Trump hadn’t hated America so much and been so reluctant to make deals with Russia than in fact helped anyone other than Donald Trump.
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