Statement by Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre on President Biden’s Meetings with Elizabeth Whelan and Cherelle Griner
President Biden met today with Elizabeth Whelan and Cherelle Griner, the loved ones of two American citizens who are wrongfully detained in Russia under intolerable circumstances. Elizabeth Whelan, the sister of Paul Whelan, and Cherelle Griner, the wife of Brittney Griner, met separately with the President in the Oval Office.
The President held the meetings to reiterate his continued commitment to working through all available avenues to bring Brittney and Paul home safely. He asked after the wellbeing of Elizabeth and Cherelle and their respective families during this painful time. The President appreciated the opportunity to learn more about Brittney and Paul from those who love them most, and acknowledged that every minute they are being held is a minute too long.
Today’s meetings come after earlier meetings and conversations that the President, his national security team, and the State Department have held with the Whelan and Griner families to keep them updated on efforts to secure the release of their loved ones as quickly as possible. We all admire the courage of the Whelan and Griner families in the face of these unimaginable circumstances, and we remain committed to reuniting them with their loved ones.