Peter Doocy, the Fox News correspondent covering the White House who has confronted press secretaries for the Biden administration throughout the president’s tenure, sounds mad about a prisoner exchange in which Russia released basketball star Brittany Griner from a years-long sentence at what was likely essentially a brutal work camp in exchange for a Russian arms dealer held by the Americans.
Doocy explicitly questioned whether Griner’s safety was valuable enough to the United States to warrant the arms dealer’s release. That’s how these people think. If an individual American is in danger, they sound directly willing to let them suffer unless it serves their twisted ideals of what it means to be an American or support the nation’s security — or something to that effect. “In this prisoner swap why did Russia get such a better deal?” Doocy asked Karine Jean-Pierre.
“Look, I’ve talked about this, and I’ll say this again,” she replied. “Here were our choices. Our choices were Brittany, or no one at all. Bringing home one American, or no American at all.” Doocy cut in and complained that Russia “gave up a professional athlete” while the U.S. handed over a “prolific arms dealer” who threatened Americans. “The ‘professional athlete’ is also an American citizen, so let’s not forget that,” Jean-Pierre observed in response.
Doocy again interrupted and pointed out that another American currently in Russian custody, Paul Whelan, is also an American citizen. Doocy can’t reasonably pretend to be a good-faith voice in the press room when one minute he doesn’t even care about the consideration that Griner is an American and the next is eager to apply the same frame of reference to Whelan’s situation. Jean-Pierre noted that she and the administration have addressed Whelan’s case. “The president felt that this was an opportunity to bring Brittany home,” Jean-Pierre added. “He is going to continue to do everything he can to bring Paul Whelan home, just like he did with Trevor Reed.” Reed is an American who was also detained in Russia and whose release was also secured by the Biden administration. Check out the interactions below:
"The 'professional athlete' is also an American citizen" — Karine Jean-Pierre hits back at Peter Doocy after he derisively describes Brittney Griner as a "a professional athlete" pic.twitter.com/afnzb5RO7o
— Aaron Rupar (@atrupar) December 8, 2022
And it goes all the way to the top. Trump called the deal returning Griner to the U.S. an “unpatriotic embarrassment for the USA” and alleged that Griner “openly hates our Country,” which is obviously an objectively ridiculous mischaracterization of her position. That’s what these people think of those who don’t fit the mold and support the conservative ideal. If you’re stuck in a Russian prison system that has drawn international condemnation for its human rights abuses and in which there are few if any meaningful avenues of recourse for those left subject to forced labor in remote environments and sometimes extreme conditions — too bad!