The wife of Brittney Griner received a call from President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris to “reassure” her that they are attempting to secure the release of the WNBA star from her wrongful detainment in Russia.
“The President called Cherelle to reassure her that he is working to secure Brittney’s release as soon as possible, as well as the release of Paul Whelan and other U.S. nationals who are wrongfully detained or held hostage in Russia and around the world,” the White House said in a statement on Wednesday. “He also read her a draft of the letter the President is sending to Brittney Griner today.”
Griner, 31, is on trial in Russia for “large-scale transportation of drugs” after being detained for more than 135 days for reportedly attempting to smuggle marijuana vape cartridges through the country’s customs at an airport. The U.S. government claimed the charges were bogus, when they declared the seven-time WNBA All-Star had been “wrongfully detained” on May 3.
The former two-time Olympian wrote the president a letter on the Fourth of July, explaining that she was “terrified I might be here forever.”
“I realize you are dealing with so much, but please don’t forget about me and the other American Detainees,” Griner wrote. “Please do all you can to bring us home. I voted for the first time in 2020 and I voted for you. I believe in you. I still have so much good to do with my freedom that you can help restore.”
Griner’s wife, Cherelle, criticized the White House for failing to free the hoops star. “They are not moving, they are not doing anything. So my wife is struggling, and we have to help her,” she told Gayle King in a Tuesday interview. “I still have not heard from [the president]. And, honestly, it’s very disheartening,”
"They’re not moving, they’re not doing anything," Cherelle Griner tells Gayle King the government is not helping to get Brittney Griner home — and she says Biden hasn't answered her wife's desperate plea for help. pic.twitter.com/Z0CbCc2MTD
— Virginia Kruta (@VAKruta) July 5, 2022
On Wednesday, the White House detailed that Biden is “committed to ensuring” Griner’s family is provided “all possible assistance” while the administration “pursues every avenue to bring Brittney” and all the other Americans “held hostage or wrongfully detained abroad.”
Cherelle released a statement following her call with Biden and Harris. “I am grateful to the both of them for the time they spent with me and for the commitment they expressed to getting BG home,” she said.