UPDATED with Donald Trump response: President Donald Trump tried to tweet his way out of the corner into which he painted himself when he said he does not hold Kim Jong Un responsible for Otto Warmbier’s death, taking the North Korean ruler at his word that he did not know what was happening to the college student.
If you guessed Trump tried to turn the conversation to Barack Obama, go to the head of the class.
“I never like being misinterpreted, but especially when it comes to Otto Warmbier and his great family. I got Otto out along with three others. The previous Administration did nothing, and he was taken on their watch. Of course I hold North Korea responsible for Otto’s mistreatment and death.”
At a presser in Hanoi, Trump said he did not hold Kim Jong Un responsible, taking the North Korean ruler’s word for it he did not know what was happening to Warmbier.
“Most important, Otto Warmbier will not have died in vain,” Trump continued to tweet. “Otto and his family have become a tremendous symbol of strong passion and strength, which will last for many years in the future.”
“I love Otto and think of him often!” Trump concluded.
Previous: Otto Warmbier’s parents are blasting President Donald Trump for saying he believes North Korean ruler Kim Jong Un had nothing to do with the death of their son.
“We have been respectful during this summit process. Now we must speak out,” Cindy and Fred Warmbier said in a scathing rebuke of Trump after POTUS returned to US from aborted Hanoi summit with the North Korean dictator.
“Kim and his evil regime are responsible for the death of our son Otto. Kim and his evil regime are responsible for unimaginable cruelty and inhumanity. No excuses or lavish praise can change that.”
Otto Warmbier was sentenced in March of 2016 to 15 years hard labor in a prison, for taking a propaganda poster off the wall of a North Korean hotel in which he was staying while visiting that country as part of a tour group.
About 17 months later, Otto Warmbier was returned to the U.S., brain dead. He died days later.
His parents had agreed to be among Trump’s State of the Union Show-and-Tell in January of 2018.
At that SOTU, Trump had them stand up in the hall, and said of their son that “after a shameful trial, the dictatorship sentenced Otto to 15 years of hard labor, before returning him to America last June — horribly injured and on the verge of death.”
Trump called Warmbier’s parents “powerful witnesses to a menace that threatens our world, and your strength inspires us all. Tonight, we pledge to honor Otto’s memory with American resolve.”
One year later, at a press conference this week, following his summit with Kim, Trump said he spoke to the North Korean dictator about Warmbier, reporting “He felt badly about it.”
“But [Kim] tells me he didn’t know about it,” Trump said, adding, “And I will take him at his word.”
Three makes a trend.
Trump similarly said, at his infamous Helsinki summit presser, that Russian ruler Vladimir Putin had assured him his country did not attempt to interfere in the U.S. presidential election and he was taking Putin’s assurance over the conclusion of Trump’s own experts.
Similarly, Trump rejected his experts’ conclusion that Saudi crown prince Mohammed bin Salman was behind the execution and dismemberment of Washington Post columnist Jamal Khashoggi at a Saudi consulate in Turkey.