Outraged critics are calling President Biden’s deal to exchange WNBA star Brittney Griner for an infamous arms dealer a “surrender.”

On the runway of an Abu Dhabi airport, a trade took place between 6-foot-9 basketball player and “Merchant of Death” Viktor Bout. This scene was reminiscent of prisoner swaps that often occurred during the Cold War.

“She’s safe, she’s on a plane, she’s on her way home,” Biden, who was joined by Griner’s wife Cherelle at the White House, said.

The ex-Marine is now Paul Whelan, and he is stuck in a Russian prison on charges of espionage that the US has called baseless.

“I don’t understand why I’m still sitting here,” Whelan said from the penal colony where he’s being held.

“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,” Whelan said.

“My bags are packed. I’m ready to go home. I just need an airplane to come and get me.”

John Bolton, former White House national security adviser and American ambassador to the United Nations, also spoke out against the exchange.

“This is not a deal. This is not a swap. This is a surrender,” he told CBS News.

“And terrorists and rogue states all around the world will take note of this, and it endangers other Americans in the future who can be grabbed and used as bargaining chips by people who don’t have the same morals and scruples that we do.”

On February 17th, Griner was arrested at a Russian airport for attempting to smuggle vape cartridges containing cannabis oil.

The bust took place a week before Russian President Vladimir Putin launched his deadly invasion of Ukraine, leading to speculation that the eight-time all-star center for the Phoenix Mercury was intended for use as leverage against the United States.

On August 4th, Griner was sentenced to nine years in prison for a crime Biden called “unacceptable.” In addition, the statement said, “My administration will continue to work tirelessly and pursue every possible avenue to bring Brittney and Paul Whelan home safely as soon as possible.”

Bout, 55, was called “international arms trafficking enemy No. 1” by then-Manhattan US Attorney Preet Bharara in 2008. He said that Bout had fueled “some of the most violent conflicts around the globe” before being busted in a sting operation in Thailand.

In 2012, he was sentenced to 25 years in prison for conspiring to sell arms worth millions of dollars to Marxist terrorists in Colombia. This included surface-to-air missiles and more than 20,000 AK-47 rifles.

Bout was told, through a recorded conversation, that the missiles would be used to kill American pilots by taking out their helicopters.

“We have the same enemy,” he said.

New York Mayor Adams’ chief counsel and former federal terrorism prosecutor, Brendan McGuire, was one of the men responsible for finding Bout guilty in a Manhattan court.

McGuire refused to give a statement when asked about his release, as indicated by City Hall.

Bolton said that swapping Bout for Griner was “a huge victory for Moscow over Washington” and it “shows just how desperate the administration was to make this deal.”

Bolton added that “the possibility of a Bout-for-Whelan trade existed” when he was then-President Donald Trump’s national security adviser.

“And it wasn’t made, for very good reasons having to deal with Viktor Bout,” he stated.

Trump questioned Biden’s decision to release “one of the biggest arms dealers anywhere in the world” in a Truth Social post on Thursday, claiming Bout was “responsible for tens of thousands of deaths and horrific injuries.”

“Why wasn’t former Marine Paul Whelan included in this totally one-sided transaction? He would have been let out for the asking,” the former president said. “What a ‘stupid’ and unpatriotic embarrassment for the USA!!!”

House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) wrote on Twitter that releasing Bout would “a gift to Vladimir Putin, and it endangers American lives. Leaving Paul Whelan behind for this is unconscionable.”

Many people agreed that Russia got the better end of the deal in this trade.

Following the Cowboys’ Parson’s outrage over the exchange, former NFL quarterback Boomer Esiason said on his WFAN show, “I’m telling you, more people feel that way than don’t.”

“It’s not an even swap – it’s not. We all know what happened to Brittney should have never happened. But man, we look so pathetic,” he stated.

In a collective statement, the Saudi and UAE ministries of foreign affairs announced that bin Salman and UAE President Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed had brokenred the deal, calling it “a reflection of the mutual and solid friendship between their two countries and the United States of America and the Russian Federation.”

Although Biden omitted Saudi Arabia from his remarks, he did express gratitude towards the UAE “for helping us facilitate Brittney’s return because that’s where she landed.”

White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre remarked, “The only country that actually negotiated this deal was the United States and Russia.”