The prisoner swap that resulted in the release of WNBA star Brittney Griner from Russia and not U.S. Marine veteran and police officer Paul Whelan in exchange for notorious Russian arms dealer Viktor Bout shows a "pattern of weakness" and "capitulation" from Democrats and the Biden administration, Rep. Scott Perry told Newsmax on Saturday.
"Whether it's Afghanistan, whether it's Gitmo, whether it's in this case, the Democrats in general and Joe Biden in particular really don't stand up for America and can be pushed around by any country on the planet," the Pennsylvania Republican said on Newsmax's "The Count."
Perry noted that when it comes to Griner, "we're happy that every single American can make it home; that's a good day for America," but she'd been imprisoned for less than a year while Whelan has been trapped in Russia for four years.
"There's got to be a priority here, and the priority apparently is about what's trending on social media and what looks more politically correct," said Perry.
Griner is Black and openly gay.
"What the priority should be is the person that's out, making sure that every single one of us can live free, the Marine remains in prison and it just seems to be lopsided," he added.
Meanwhile, Bout, nicknamed the "Merchant of Death," has been freed and that is a "bad deal," said Perry.
"He is responsible for the death of Marines and American servicemen around the world and maybe millions of others, and that person goes free," said Perry. "It doesn't look like an appropriate deal; and certainly if there's any indication whatsoever that we could have gotten both of them home, that should have been the case."
Perry further commented that it's a "fair comparison" to make between the Griner swap and that of Bo Bergdahl in 2014, who was exchanged for several members of the Taliban, five of whom are now serving in high places in the Taliban's government.
"[With] the Taliban five, we knew what their history was; and, of course, we knew what Bo Bergdahl's history was," said Perry, noting that it's a "pattern" for Democrats like Biden and former President Barack Obama, who orchestrated the Bergdahl exchange, to show adversaries that "we're weak and can be pushed around."
And with the Griner exchange, that telegraphs that "all you have to do if somebody is being held in America for crimes they've committed is take an American, hold them hostage for a little while, especially if they fit the right narrative and you're going to get your hostage back," said Perry.
"It is unacceptable and, again, weakness is provocative," he said. "It invites more aggression from adversaries of America, and I think that's what you're seeing right now.
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