Fox News’ Tucker Carlson knocked President Joe Biden’s announcement on Thursday that he has secured the release of American WNBA player Brittney Griner. The opinion host claimed she was prioritized over former Marine Paul Whelan based on her identity and politics.
Griner was detained in Russia in February for possessing less than a gram of cannabis oil in her luggage while at Moscow’s Sheremetyevo Airport. In exchange for her release, the United States released arms dealer Viktor Bout, who was serving a 25-year sentence after conspiring to sell weapons meant to be used against Americans. Meanwhile, Whelan has been detained in Russia since 2018 on charges of espionage.
Carlson cited a NBC News report which said that Russia originally gave Biden a choice of whether to free Griner or Whelan in exchange for Bout. The initial reporting cited a senior U.S. official. He then claimed that the report was “scrubbed” and “sanitized” to state Biden was given “the choice of either Griner or no one.”
“Why did they make that choice? You should know that Whalen is a Trump voter and he made the mistake of saying so on social media, and he’s paying the price for that now,” Carlson said. “Brittany Griner is not. She has very different politics.”
He went on to claim that Griner despises the United States, citing comments she made in support of not playing the national anthem.
“That’s the kind of position that gets you rewarded by Joe Biden,” he said. “Hate America? Perfect!”
In addition, he claimed that White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said that being Black and a lesbian are “essential qualifications for a prisoner swap.”
In a briefing with reporters, Jean-Pierre gave the following statement about Griner:
“It came to either bring Brittney home or no one. As the president said this morning, he will never stop working to secure Paul’s release and return home. And he will not give up. On a personal note, Brittney Griner is more than an athlete, more than an Olympian, she is an important role model and inspiration to millions of Americans, particularly the LGBTQI+ Americans and women of color. She should never have been detained by Russia.”
“So there is Joe Biden’s press secretary telling you that Brittney Griner is important because she’s a lesbian woman of color,” Carlson said, before noting Jean-Pierre is also a lesbian and a woman of color.
“How perverse is that?” he continued. “Imagine a press secretary from the last administration, say, Sean Spicer, pausing in the middle of a briefing to tell you that, ‘On a personal note, it is thrilling when a straight white man gets out of prison.’ What would you think of that? You’d probably see that as an offense against the idea of the rule of law. Against the idea of a country where we’re all treated equally because we’re all citizens.”
Carlson concluded the segment by insinuating that Biden administration and Democrats believe that people should get “more rights based on what color you are and what sexual orientation you are.”
“But that’s not how this country works or has ever worked or should ever work,” he added. “That’s immoral.”
Watch the full segment in the video above.