Brittney Griner's Wife Expresses Frustration With Biden Administration
By Jovonne Ledet
June 23, 2022
On Wednesday (June 22), Cherelle Griner told MSNBC that she has "asked" and "requested" to speak with President Joe Biden about Brittney's ongoing detention in Russia, yet she hasn't heard back. Many have called for the president and Cherelle to meet as the White House has said that bringing her wife home was a "priority."
"At this point, it almost feels like, you know, they're indirectly telling me 'no,'" Cherelle said."It almost feels like indirectly they've told us as a family they will not meet with us despite the fact that everybody is saying when I do speak to people: 'BG's a top priority. We know she's wrongfully detained. We're doing everything.'"
She continued. "But the people that have the highest power, they have not spoken to me and my family."
CNN reports that the WNBA wife spoke to U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken on Wednesday, but details of the call are unknown. Their conversation follows a mistake made by the State Department that left Cherelle and Brittney unable to speak on their anniversary as anticipated.
"I have been able to speak with Secretary Blinken inside of the White House. I have been able to speak with some persons from the SPEHA [Office of the Special Presidential Envoy for Hostage Affairs department]," Cherelle said referring to recent meetings with SPEHA that included Brittney’s teammates and support network.
"However, the person that has the power, you know, the Biden administration itself, being President Biden, Vice President Harris, I have not spoken to them."
Brittney has been detained since February after authorities alleged she was smuggling illegal drugs in her suitcase at a Russian airport. The U.S. State Department classified the Phoenix Mercury star as "wrongfully detained" in May.
Earlier this month, a Russian court extended her detention through July 2.
Cherelle said she hasn't spoken with her wife since February 17.
National Security Council Spokesperson Adrienne Watson emphasized that the administration is working to support Griner and other wrongful detainees.
“President Biden has been clear about the need to see all U.S. nationals who are held hostage or wrongfully detained abroad released, including Brittney Griner," Watson said. "The U.S. government continues to work aggressively – using every available means – to bring her home.”