Trump: Griner for ‘Merchant of Death’ is Not a ‘Good Trade’

Former President Donald Trump weighed in on the potential swap for WNBA star Brittney Griner, who is being held in Russia on drug charges, and said the proposal is not “a very good trade.”

On the “Clay Travis and Buck Sexton Show” Saturday, the Republican declared the two-time Olympic gold medalist knew not to go to Russia “loaded up with drugs.” Trump added he assumed she admitted it “without too much force.”

The proposed prisoner swap between the United States and Russia would bring Griner and former U.S. Marine Paul Whelan home for Russian arms dealer Viktor Bout. The mercenary, Bout, is known as the “Merchant of Death” for selling arsenals to deadly conflicts globally.

The former Soviet army officer is believed to have been in Russian President Vladimir Putin’s inner circle before his 2008 arrest in Thailand. He commanded a billion-dollar business that supplied weapons to dictators and drug lords around the world.

Among his clients were the Taliban and Al Qaeda, according to U.S. officials. Bout is serving a 25-year prison sentence, and Trump referred to him as “absolutely one of the worst in the world.”

Bout was the inspiration for the Nicholas Cage movie “Lord of War.”

As for Griner, the former president called the basketball star a “potentially spoiled person.” He noted that, while Bout would receive a “free card,” Griner knew that Russia is highly intolerant of illegal drugs and yet she went into hostile territory with them in her luggage.

The Biden administration has said that securing the return of Griner and other U.S. citizens detained abroad is of the “highest priority.”

Griner was detained at a Russian airport outside Moscow just before the Feb. 24 invasion of Ukraine. Officials found cannabis oil in her luggage and she was arrested. Her attorneys said she had a prescription for medicinal marijuana to deal with pain, and Griner pled guilty.

U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken discussed the potential swap with Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov on Friday. Noteworthy due to ongoing tensions between the governments, there is no word on the result of the exchange.