President Joe Biden on Tuesday phoned the parents of former U.S. Marine Trevor Reed, who has been imprisoned in Russia for more than two years on what U.S. officials say are trumped-up charges.
Biden called Trevor's parents and sister after his motorcade passed the family in Fort Worth, Texas, en route to giving a speech on veterans issues, The Dallas Morning News reported.
Trevor's mother, Paula, held a pink sign that read, "Bring my son home!" as the president's vehicle passed by. Biden acknowledged Paula with a wave and a point of his finger, the Morning News said.
Sen. John Cornyn, R-Texas, had called on Biden to meet with Trevor’s family during the president’s trip, The Texas Tribune reported.
Instead, Biden phoned his parents, Joey and Paula, and sister, Taylor, about 50 minutes after giving his speech on veterans issues.
The president apologized for not being able to stop and meet with the family, and he told the Reeds he thinks about their son almost every day and said a Rosary for him on the way to Fort Worth.
"I want you to know my heart aches for you," the president told the Reeds, the Morning News reported. "I just can’t imagine what you all are going through."
Biden said the Secret Service likely wouldn't allow a deviation from his schedule to meet with the family. However, the president did say he would have his scheduler make an appointment with them.
"He was just very, very apologetic that he couldn’t be with us," Paula said after the phone call. "He kept saying over and over again how horrible he felt that he couldn’t stop. Obviously, better words cannot be heard by a mother."
On Monday, the Reeds had said they would stage a demonstration outside the site of Biden's speech.
Joey told The Hill that the White House cited scheduling constraints when it declined to meet with the family.
Trevor, a Texas native, is serving a nine-year prison sentence after he was convicted of assaulting a police officer while drunk. He was sentenced in 2020.
Trevor has said he has no memory of what happened. The U.S. ambassador to Russia has called the charges "absurd."
U.S. officials have said both Trevor and Paul Whelan, another former Marine imprisoned in Russia, likely are being used as bargaining chips in order to be exchanged for Russians imprisoned in the States.
Joey has said his son is being held in solitary confinement in a Russian gulag because he’s refusing to work, and he’s been sick with what the family believes is tuberculosis.
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