While the return of Brittney Griner to the United States was a reason for celebration for millions of people, it also brought upon heavy backlash that the country would trade for a WNBA star for a convicted Russian arms dealer while leaving former Marine Paul Whelan imprisoned in Russia.
Now, that outrage is becoming even more public in one state.
According to a report from Julie O’Donoghue of The Louisiana Illuminator, the Louisiana Republican Party has issued a resolution publicly condemning the prisoner exchange that freed Brittney Griner.
“Members of the GOP committee attending their quarterly meeting in Lafayette supported a resolution condemning the Griner exchange through a voice vote. No members raised objections to the matter, once a reference to Griner being a ‘woke’ gay woman was removed from the statement,” Julie O’Donoghue of The Louisiana Illuminator wrote. “The Republican Party did not provide a written copy of the resolution to a reporter who requested one. Louisiana Republican Party Chairman Louis Gurvich said resolutions approved during the meeting wouldn’t be available for at least two weeks.”
Griner got back in the states back in December which was just weeks before Christmas. She spent time in San Antonio getting checked out and making sure her mental health was strong after being imprisoned in a Russian colony.
Detained American Paul Whelan was excited for Griner but told CNN, “I am greatly disappointed that more has not been done to secure my release, especially as the four year anniversary of my arrest is coming up.”
“I was arrested for a crime that never occurred,” he said in a phone call from the penal colony where he is being held in a remote part of Russia. “I don’t understand why I’m still sitting here.”
Whelan said he was surprised that he had been left behind.
“I was led to believe that things were moving in the right direction, and that the governments were negotiating and that something would happen fairly soon,” he said.
The former marine was detained at a Moscow hotel in December 2018 by Russian authorities who alleged he was involved in an intelligence operation. He was convicted and sentenced in June 2020 to 16 years in prison in a trial US officials denounced as unfair.