Trump argues to be ‘misinterpreted’ regarding Otto Warmbier’s death

Washington: United States President Donald Trump on Friday (local time) argued that he was ‘misinterpreted’ regarding the death of Otto Warmbier, an American college student, who was arrested in North Korea last year for allegedly removing a political propaganda poster from a Pyongyang hotel.

In a midnight tweet, President Trump wrote: “I never like being misinterpreted, but especially when it comes to Otto Warmbier and his great family. Remember, 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. Most important, Otto Warmbier will not have died in vain. Otto and his family have become a tremendous symbol of strong passion and strength, which will last for many years into the future. I love Otto and think of him often!” Trump added.

The statement by the US President came after the parents of Otto, on Thursday, accused Trump of siding with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, who denied knowledge of their son’s maltreatment during his imprisonment.

“We have been respectful during this summit process. 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. Thank you,” Fred and Cindy Warmbier, Otto’s parents, was quoted as saying by CNN.

After the second summit with the North Korean leader in Vietnam, the previous month, Trump said that he does not hold Kim to be responsible for Warmbier’s death.

“He tells me that he didn’t know about it and I will take him at his word,” Trump said during a news conference while adding that Kim “felt very badly. But he knew the case very well, but he knew it later.”

Apart from Otto, Trump, last year on May 3, announced the release of three other American hostages, who were detained in North Korea, namely Kim Hak-song, Tony Kim and Kim Dong-chul. They were accused of espionage or doing “hostile acts” against North Korea.

Washington D.C. accused Pyongyang of Warmbier’s “bad” condition, while the latter outwardly rejected it.

Otto suffered severe brain damage during his captivity. The Trump administration placed intense pressure on Pyongyang to release Warmbier when they learned of his condition.