Trevor Reed, a retired U.S. Marine who was freed from Russian imprisonment earlier this year, criticized President Joe Biden and the White House on Tuesday for “not doing enough” to help free WNBA star Brittney Griner and executive Paul Whelan from Russian detainment.
Reed, 29, who was released in April as part of a prisoner swap following his initial 2019 arrest, said during an interview with NBC News that the White House “has the ability” to bring the American citizens home but has “chosen not to do that,” the outlet reported.
“I can’t say 100% what the White House is or is not doing — that’s obviously not public information,” Reed said on “Hallie Jackson NOW.”
He added: “But, in my opinion, the White House has the ability to get them out extremely fast, and they clearly have chosen not to do that. So no, in my opinion, they’re not doing enough.”
Reed said the responsibility to free the Americans ultimately rested with President Biden, who he thanked for securing his own freedom — which he called an “ethical decision.”
“I think that that was the ethical decision, and I think that they did the right thing,” Reed told the outlet. “He ultimately makes that decision — that decision has to come from the top. And, you know, I’m grateful for that. And I appreciate that. But I think that, you know, he has the responsibility to continue doing the right thing.”
In July 2020, Reed was sentenced to nine years in prison after he was found guilty of allegedly hitting a Moscow police officer in 2019.
Earlier this month, President Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris called Cherelle Griner, the wife of Brittney Griner, the imprisoned basketball star, and assured her they were “working to secure Brittney’s release as soon as possible.”
Brittney has been detained in Russia since February. She was an airport in Moscow for allegedly having vape cartridges containing cannabis oil. Griner pleaded pleaded guilty to drug charges and said she had not acted deliberately.
A readout from the White House said the president and the vice president also said they were working on securing “the release of Paul Whelan and other U.S. nationals who are wrongfully detained or held hostage in Russia and around the world.”
The president also called Elizabeth Whelan, the sister of the imprisoned executive, and has ordered senior U.S. officials to regularly update both families on the efforts to secure their loved ones.
Paul Whelan was arrested in 2018 on charges of espionage. He was sentenced to 16 years hard labor in 2020.