As the Biden administration is reportedly negotiating a prisoner exchange with Russia in an effort to bring home two U.S. citizens, including WNBA star Brittney Griner, “The View” host Joy Behar has a suggestion — give Russia Mitch McConnell instead of the man they actually want.
This week, it was reported that an offer was made to Russia to to exchange Viktor Bout, a convicted Russian arms trafficker known as “The Merchant of Death,” who is serving a 25-year U.S. prison sentence, for the release of American citizens Brittney Griner and Paul Whelan, after both were wrongly detained.
The move has met mixed reactions, with some criticizing Biden for being willing to release such a dangerous criminal back to Russia. Of course, Behar had an alternative option on “The View” on Thursday.
“Can’t they just send Mitch McConnell instead?” Behar suggested. “That seems like a ….”
Behar didn’t finish her sentence, but host Sunny Hostin supplied an ending for her, filling in “more fair trade.”
During the discussion, the hosts all admitted that they are also not thrilled that this is the deal on the table, but noted that they understand why Bout is being considered at all. Host Sara Haines argued that really, for the families of Wheelan and Griner, it probably wouldn’t matter who Russia asked for in exchange.
“If you’re anyone that loves them, you can’t put a value on that life,” Haines said. “It is not, politically, an equal trade, but it kind of optically tells you all you need to know. You’ve got a WNBA player who had some cannabis oil vape cartridges… Paul Whelan, a former Marine there to help with a wedding. Then you’ve got the Merchant of Death. So like, when you look at it, it tells you everything you need to know.”
Guest host Alyssa Farah Griffin added that prisoner exchanges are rarely supported by a majority, and argued that this particular deal is a stark reminder of how terrible Vladimir Putin is, simply based on what he’s asking for.
“Does it make us uncomfortable? Yes. Prisoner swaps in general do,” Farah Griffin said. “Because these are two good Americans we’re getting out, in exchange for this evil person. But it’s a reminder that Vladimir Putin is an enemy. And that Russia is at active aggression against our ally Ukraine, and this is a scary time we live in. We’ve all said at this table that Brittney Griner needs to come home, and I pray that this works out. But I also hope that once they hopefully both do, we don’t forget about the people of Ukraine who are suffering at the hands of this barbaric, evil person.”