POTUS makes agonizing call

President Joe Biden deserves the benefit of some compassion and whole lot less of the back-stabbing and second-guessing he is getting from right-wingers over Brittney Griner’s release from a Russian gulag.

Griner came home to Texas after being released in a negotiated prisoner swap that sent arms dealer Viktor Bout back to Russia. The MAGA crowd has been leading the boo birds in criticizing the deal that has resulted in another American, Paul Whelan, remaining in Russian captivity.

Let’s be clear about what went down.

The White House had been negotiating with the Kremlin over securing Griner’s release. As it turned out, the Russians had settled on a deal that meant it would be Griner for Bout. That was their final offer.

So … Biden accepted the deal.

Had he refused, we would have gotten no one out of Russia.

It is fair to ask: Would the right wingers out there have accepted a no-deal over what we got?

Let us also recognize the president’s pledge to keep working to secure Paul Whelan’s release. Whelan has been held on a phony spying charge for four years. It’s instructive that Whelan’s family — and even Whelan himself — have been gracious in acknowledging Griner’s release from the Russian hoosegow.

Yes, we all want Paul Whelan to come home. No one should be happy that he remains locked up. It angers me, too, that he wasn’t part of the deal that brought Griner — a celebrated pro basketball athlete — home to her family.

However, I am not going to “blame” President Biden for the deal he struck.

He has acknowledged the difficult choice he faced. Hey, it’s why he’s making the big bucks as president of the United States.