Trump: Kim Says He Was Not Responsible for Otto Warmbier's Death
Trump had previously pressured Kim over human rights folwing the death of 22-year-old Ohio
President Donald Trump said he believes North Korean leader Kim Jong Un was not responsible for the death of Otto Warmbier, the American college student who died when he returned to the US after being detained by the state.
“He tells me that he didn’t know about it and I will take him at his word,” Trump said at a news conference following a summit.
Trump had previously pressured Kim over human rights folwing the death of 22-year-old from Ohio.
The Presdient later adopted a lighter tone with Kim to settle a nuclear agreement.
Trump said he spoke to Kim about Warmbier before insisting he did not believe the leader would have been mistreated because it “just wasn’t to his advantage to allow that to happen.”
“He felt badly about it. I did speak to him. He felt very badly,” Trump said of Kim.
According to The Hill: Trump suggested that it is not reasonable for Kim to be held responsible for what happens inside North Korea’s vast network of prison camps, where human rights groups say people are kept in unsanitary quarters and routinely subject to torture.
“He knew the case very well. But he knew it later,” Trump said of Kim.
“And, you know, you’ve got a lot of people. Big country. Lot of people. And in those prisons and those camps, you have a lot of people. And some really bad things happened to Otto. Some really bad things.”
Warmbier, a University of Virginia student, was sentenced to 15 years of hard labor for allegedly attempting to steal a propaganda poster during a January 2016 visit to Pyongyang.
He died roughly 17 months later after he was sent back to the U.S. in a coma. Warmbier’s parents have previously praised Trump for securing their son’s release and said that he was tortured by North Koreans.
Trump’s response to the Warmbier question was reminiscent of widely panned comments he made during a news conference last summer with Vladimir Putin, in which he said he took the Russian president at his word that he did not direct Moscow’s election interference efforts in 2016.
The president’s comments were at odds with the U.S. intelligence community’s unanimous conclusion that Putin had a hand in the initiative.
Hillary Clinton recently said she has little faith in President Donald Trump’s ability to negotiate with Kim Jong-un on North Korean denuclearization.
Clinton added that any 'claims of victory' would be like putting “lipstick on a pig.”The former secretary of State said she doubts Trump's goals will be achieved.
Clinton told journalist Tina Brown in a podcast episode on Tuesday ahead of Trump’s summit with North Korea’s Kim Jong Un, “I have serious doubts that whatever [Trump] claims will be actually achieved.”