Fred and Cindy Warmbier issued a damning statement Friday hitting out at President Trump for taking North Korean leader Kim Jong Un’s word for it that he knew nothing about the treatment of their son Otto. “We have been respectful during this summit process. Now we must speak out,” the couple said in a statement. “Kim and his evil regime are responsible for unimaginable cruelty and inhumanity. No excuses or lavish praise can change that.” Trump said at a press conference in Vietnam after meeting the North Korean dictator in a failed summit that he would take Kim “at his word” that he had not known about the treatment of the 22-year-old American until it was too late.
Later Friday, the president claimed he did hold North Korea responsible for Warmbier's death. “Remember, I got Otto out along with three others. The previous Administration did nothing, and he was taken on their watch,” he wrote on Twitter. “Most important, Otto Warmbier will not have died in vain... I love Otto and think of him often!”
The University of Virginia student was sentenced in January 2016 to 15 years of hard labor for allegedly stealing a propaganda poster while on a visit to North Korea. He was returned to the U.S. in a comatose state 17 months later and died shortly after.