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Exclusive: White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre Opens Up About Brittney Griner's Release

White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre
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Jean-Pierre tells The Advocate Channel what's next for the recently released Griner and still detained Paul Whelan.

Following the monumental release of WNBA star Brittney Griner from Russia custody, White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre is updating The Advocate Channel on the fight to bring Griner home, and what's next for the athlete.


"President Biden keeps his promises. And today, this was a promise that was fulfilled, that was deeply important," Jean-Pierre tells Tracy E. Gilchrist of Advocate Today.

Jean-Pierre says that Griner's "safe home return" is the product of "months and months of painstaking negotiations." She adds that U.S. government officials showed extraordinary efforts, calling them "relentless" in their fight.

"They were relentless in getting this negotiation completed and done and getting her released," Jean-Pierre says. "We've had intense conversations with Russia looking at different avenues to bring her home. And today is a really good day. It's a great day for Brittney and her family, it's a great day for our country."

Griner, who was detained in February, was last reported to be on a flight back to the United States. As for how she current feels, Jean-Pierre says she is happy to be coming home.

"We had [heard] that she was in good spirits. ... We're going to give her, her privacy, and allow her to tell her story, allow her to speak for herself if she chooses to do that," she says.

Jean-Pierre shares that Americans wrongfully detained abroad often find it hard to re-adjust to society after their release. To see Griner through her transition, the White House is offering "anything she needs."

"What we normally do is offer services for folks who are coming back after being wrongfully detained so that they can kind of re-engage or re-emerge into society," Jean-Pierre explains. "She'll have anything that she needs, whether it's mental health care or physical care."

As for Paul Whelan, the American still held in Russian detention facilities, Jean-Pierre informs that President Biden and the U.S. Government will continue to fight for his release.

"As you know, the President has this moral center, and he believed that we needed to bring her home," she says. "Because the option that was before use was either Brittney or no one."

Jean-Pierre adds: "We're going to continue to fight for Paul and we're going to continue to fight for other Americans who are wrongfully detained abroad."

Watch Jean-Pierre's full interview with The Advocate Channel below to hear her full thoughts on Griner, as well as the recently passed Respect For Marriage Act and the fight for equal pay in women's sports.

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