Warmbier's parents blame NKorea 'evil regime' in son's death

CINCINNATI (AP) — Unlike President Donald Trump, Otto Warmbier’s parents don’t believe North Korea’s leader.

The parents of the American college student who was sent home from North Korea in a vegetative state spoke out Friday, after Trump’s comment this week that he takes Kim Jong Un “at his word” that he was unaware of any mistreatment during the young man’s 17 months of captivity. Warmbier died at age 22 soon after his return in June 2017.

Fred and Cindy Warmbier, who have expressed appreciation of Trump in the past and were guests at his 2018 State of the Union address, said in a statement Friday they had been respectfully silent while Trump and Kim met in Vietnam.

But no longer.

“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,” they said. “No excuses or lavish praise can change that.”

Trending:
AZ Audit Hand Count Finishing Up, Paper Examination Continues at 100K Ballots Per Day

The president said Friday afternoon he was being misinterpreted.

“Of course I hold North Korea responsible for Otto’s mistreatment and death,” he tweeted, without mentioning Kim.

Trump praised the Warmbiers as “a tremendous symbol of strong passion and strength” and said he loves Otto and thinks of him often.

The Republican president also took credit for gaining his release along with three other detainees and noted that Democrat Barack Obama was in office when Warmbier was seized.

Democratic Sen. Chuck Schumer, of New York, said in a tweet that Trump owes the Warmbiers an apology for “simply deciding to take a cruel and brutal dictator at his word.”

Warmbier’s parents have accused North Korea of torturing the University of Virginia student, who was detained for allegedly stealing a propaganda poster as he prepared to end a visit to the country with a tour group.

Fred Warmbier described to Fox News in 2017 Otto’s condition when he returned: making an “involuntary, inhuman sound,” ”staring blankly into space, jerking violently,” and was blind and deaf, with his head shaved.

Doctors in Cincinnati said he had suffered severe brain damage, although they weren’t sure what led to it. North Korea denied mistreating him, saying he fell into a coma that resulted from botulism and a sleeping pill.

A federal judge in December ordered North Korea to pay more than $500 million in a wrongful death suit filed by Warmbier’s parents. U.S. District Judge Beryl Howell harshly condemned North Korea for “barbaric mistreatment” of Warmbier.

Related:
US General Warns of 'Wildfire of Terrorism' Tearing Through Africa

During a news conference Thursday , Trump was asked if he and Kim had discussed Otto and whether he had asked the North Korean leader to take responsibility for what happened to him.

Trump said that “something very bad happened” to Warmbier, but that he didn’t believe Kim knew about it or would have allowed it to happen.

“He tells me that he didn’t know about it, and I will take him at his word,” Trump said.

Some people who have followed the Warmbiers’ ordeal were stunned.

“Trump offers Warmbiers a slap in the face,” read a headline on a column by Byron McCauley in The Cincinnati Enquirer.

Republican U.S. Sen. Rob Portman, who like the Warmbiers lives in the Cincinnati area, has kept in contact with them since Otto’s detention began.

“His treatment at the hands of his captors was unforgivable, and it tells us a lot about the nature of this regime,” Portman said Thursday on the Senate floor. “We can’t be naive about what they did to Otto, about the brutal nature of the regime that would do this to an American citizen.”

Another Cincinnati-area Republican, U.S. Rep. Brad Wenstrup, said: “Otto Warmbier’s imprisonment and death were heinous crimes at the hands of the brutal Kim Jong Un regime.”

__

Superville reported from Washington. Follow Dan Sewell at https://www.twitter.com/dansewell Follow Darlene Superville at http://www.twitter.com/dsupervilleap

The Western Journal has not reviewed this Associated Press story prior to publication. Therefore, it may contain editorial bias or may in some other way not meet our normal editorial standards. It is provided to our readers as a service from The Western Journal.

Truth and Accuracy

Submit a Correction →



loading

We are committed to truth and accuracy in all of our journalism. Read our editorial standards.

Tags:
The Associated Press is an independent, not-for-profit news cooperative headquartered in New York City. Their teams in over 100 countries tell the world’s stories, from breaking news to investigative reporting. They provide content and services to help engage audiences worldwide, working with companies of all types, from broadcasters to brands.
The Associated Press was the first private sector organization in the U.S. to operate on a national scale. Over the past 170 years, they have been first to inform the world of many of history's most important moments, from the assassination of Abraham Lincoln and the bombing of Pearl Harbor to the fall of the Shah of Iran and the death of Pope John Paul.

Today, they operate in 263 locations in more than 100 countries relaying breaking news, covering war and conflict and producing enterprise reports that tell the world's stories.
Location
New York City




loading

Conversation