Trump Uses Journalist's Detention In Russia As Leverage In Election

Former President Donald Trump seemingly attempted to use the detainment of a journalist in Russia as a pawn in his 2024 presidential campaign.

In a Truth Social post on Thursday, Trump said that Evan Gershkovich, the 32-year-old Wall Street Journal reporter who has been detained since March 2023, would “be released almost immediately after the Election, but definitely before I assume Office.

The Republican presidential candidate, who has bashed journalists and news media on countless occasions, continued: “He will be HOME, SAFE, AND WITH HIS FAMILY. Vladimir Putin, President of Russia, will do that for me, but not for anyone else, and WE WILL BE PAYING NOTHING!”

Gershkovich was accused of espionage while on a reporting trip and has been imprisoned for more than a year at a Moscow jail while awaiting trial. Gershkovich, The Wall Street Journal and Gershkovich’s family deny the espionage accusations.

Moreover, President Joe Biden has called Gershkovich’s detention “wrongful” and said he’s working on his release.

Trump’s post prompted a response from T.J. Ducklo, a senior adviser to Biden’s campaign for reelection, according to NBC News.

“Trump has called journalists ‘enemies of the people’ and pledged to imprison reporters whose coverage he doesn’t like — not all that dissimilar to what’s happening right now to Evan Gershkovich in Russia,” Ducklo said.

“For Donald Trump, these wrongfully imprisoned Americans are political weapons and props to use for his own gain — for Joe Biden, they are human beings whose loved ones and family members he has spent time with,” Ducklo added. “Their release remains an urgent priority, just like it was for the 60 Americans who were wrongfully detained or taken hostage that President Biden has already brought home since taking office.”

Trump and Biden are the presumptive presidential nominees for their respective parties, making way for a 2020 rematch this year.