Bette Midler’s 4th of July tweet about women’s rights interpreted as ‘transphobic’

In a call on Wednesday, President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris spoke with Cherelle Griner, the wife of WNBA star Brittney Griner who is jailed by Russian authorities and is currently on trial on charges suspected drugs.

The White House said in a statement read from the president’s appeal that Biden assured Cherelle Griner that he and senior administration officials were working to secure his wife’s release as soon as possible, as well as the release of Paul Whelan and other US nationals. wrongfully detained or taken hostage in Russia.

Brittney Griner had sent a letter to Biden which was delivered on Monday.

During Tuesday’s regular press briefing, White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre told reporters the president had read the letter adding “We will use every tool possible to bring Griner home. “.

In his letter, excerpts of which have been made public, with the rest of the statement kept secret by the communications company representing the Griner family, Griner, 31, who plays in Russia during the league’s offseason, wrote:

“(As) I sit here in a Russian prison, alone with my thoughts and without the protection of my wife, my family, my friends, my Olympic jersey or any achievement, I am terrified to be here forever…”

“On the 4th of July, our family normally honors the service of those who fought for our freedom, including my father who is a Vietnam War veteran. It hurts to think about how I usually celebrate this day because that freedom means something completely different to me this year,” Griner wrote to the president.

“I realize you are dealing with so much, but please don’t forget me and the other American inmates. Please do all you can to get 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. I miss my wife! I miss my family! I miss my teammates! It kills me to know that they are in so much pain right now. I appreciate whatever you can do at this time to bring me home.

During Wednesday’s call, the president read his response to Brittney Griner’s letter to Cherelle Griner. The president offered his support to Cherelle Griner and the Griner family, and he pledged to ensure that they receive all the help possible while his administration pursues all avenues to bring Brittney Griner home.

Today’s call follows recent calls National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan and Secretary of State Antony Blinken have had with Cherelle Griner in recent weeks and over the weekend. The president has instructed his national security team to stay in regular contact with the family of Cherelle Griner and Brittney Griner, as well as other families of Americans held hostage or wrongfully detained abroad, to to keep them informed of efforts to secure the release of their loved ones as soon as possible. possible.

On Tuesday, National Security Council spokeswoman Adrienne Watson said in a statement:

“The President’s team is in regular contact with Brittney’s family and we will continue to work to support her family,” Watson said, adding that and Blinken “have spoken with Brittney’s wife several times over the past few weeks and the White House is coordinating closely with the President’s Special Envoy for Hostage Affairs, who has met with Brittney’s family, teammates and support network.

In February, officials at Moscow’s Sheremetyevo Airport arrested Griner — a Phoenix Mercury center and two-time Olympic gold medalist — after customs inspectors allegedly found hash oil in her luggage. The State Department determined that Russia had “wrongfully detained” her.

US Chargé d’Affaires Elizabeth Rood and other US diplomats attended the first day of Brittney Griner’s trial which began July 1 in Moscow. Brittney Griner faces up to 10 years in prison if convicted.

Additional reporting by Michael K. Lavers