Former President Donald Trump reportedly turned down an opportunity for a prisoner swap between Marine Paul Whelan and Russia’s “Merchant of Death,” according to former national security adviser John Bolton.
Bolton shared the account during a recent interview with CBS regarding the decision.
Trump turned down Viktor Bout-for-Paul Whelan prisoner swap, John Bolton says https://t.co/LuMQyEBWAX via @nypost
— rolandsmartin (@rolandsmartin) December 10, 2022
“The possibility of a Bout-for-Whelan trade existed back then,” Bolton said, “and it wasn’t made, for very good reasons having to deal with Viktor Bout.”
“Obviously, there’s a lot of very understandable human emotion here in getting Griner released, but this is a very bad mistake by the Biden administration,” he added.
“This is not a deal. This is not a swap. This is a surrender,” Bolton added. “And terrorists and rogue states all around the world will take note of this, and it endangers other Americans in the future who can be grabbed and used as bargaining chips by people who don’t have the same morals and scruples that we do,” Bolton noted of the Brittney Griner swap.
Trump confirms he turned down a Bout-Whelan prisoner swap. Oddly, he says “I would have gotten Paul out” but didn’t for two years of his administration. pic.twitter.com/jeN0YuEJ6H
— Kyle Cheney (@kyledcheney) December 12, 2022
Trump also confirmed turning down the Whelan prisoner swap in a Truth Social post.
“I wouldn’t have made the deal for a hundred people in exchange for someone that has killed untold numbers of people with his arms deals,” Trump wrote.
“I would have gotten Paul out, however, just as I did with a record number of other hostages,” he added.
Trump revealed that he turned down a deal that would have freed ex-Marine Paul Whelan in exchange for the notorious Russian arms dealer Viktor Bouthttps://t.co/abQR8LxTm2
— The Post Millennial (@TPostMillennial) December 13, 2022
Trump criticized Griner swap
Trump also criticized the Biden administration’s prisoner swap for Griner.
“Why wasn’t former Marine Paul Whelan included in this totally one-sided transaction? He would have been let out for the asking,” the former president said. “What a ‘stupid’ and unpatriotic embarrassment for the USA!!!”
Many other American lawmakers, especially conservatives, have blasted the Biden administration over the swap. Americans are glad to see Griner freed, but are upset over the cost and over leaving a Marine behind, making the nation look weak in the eyes of the world.