The family of Otto Warmbier, the American student who died after having been imprisoned in North Korea, blamed Kim Jong Un for their son’s death on Friday, reacting to U.S. President Donald Trump’s statement that he accepted the leader’s claims to have been unaware of the case.
“Kim and his evil regime are responsible for the death of our son Otto,” Fred and Cindy Warmbier said in a statement released by their attorney. “Kim and his evil regime are responsible for unimaginable cruelty and inhumanity. No excuses or lavish praise can change that.”
During this week’s Trump-Kim summit in Vietnam, where the two sides failed to reach a deal for the reclusive nation to give up its nuclear weapons, Trump praised Kim and said he accepted his claims not to have been aware of how Warmbier was treated, Reuters reports.
“He tells me that he didn’t know about it, and I will take him at his word,” Trump told a news conference. He also praised Kim’s leadership.
The parents of Otto Warmbier, the American student who died after being imprisoned by the North Korean regime, responded for the first time Friday to President Trump’s comments siding with dictator Kim Jong Un on the death of their son.
In Vietnam, President Trump, who said he mourned the student’s death last year and invited his parents to his State of the Union address, told reporters Kim “tells me that he didn’t know about it and I will take him at his word.” Warmbier died last year shortly after he was released in a coma.
“We have been respectful during this summit process,” Warmbier’s parents, Fred and Cindy Warmbier, said in a statement. “Now we must speak out. 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.”
Americans know the cruelty that was placed on Otto Warmbier by the North Korean regime. Our hearts are with the Warmbier family for their strength and courage. We will never forget Otto. ❤️????????
— Nikki Haley (@NikkiHaley) February 28, 2019
The president’s tune on Kim and on the North Korean regime related to Warmbier has changed significantly since last year. In his 2018 State of the Union address, with the Warmbier parents in the audience, Mr. Trump eviscerated Kim’s regime and blamed it for the student’s death.
“Otto Warmbier was a hardworking student at the University of Virginia, On his way to study abroad in Asia, Otto joined a tour to North Korea. At its conclusion, this wonderful young man was arrested and charged with crimes against the state. 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. He passed away just days after his return.
Otto’s parents, Fred and Cindy Warmbier, are with us tonight — along with Otto’s brother and sister, Austin and Greta. You are powerful witnesses to the menace that threatens our world, and your strength inspires us all. Tonight, we pledge to honor Otto’s memory with American resolve.” ~ President Trump
My take on this is looking at both sides of the coin, one side the parents and family of Otto deserve answers and justice for the torture and death of their son. On the other side, the President is playing a game of chess with North Korea and keeps his smile on all the while preparing for North Korea to do as they do and stab the U.S. in the back.
Chris “Badger” Thomas is a Veteran who served our country as an Army Combat Medic.