News

World

Trump Accepts Kim’s ‘Word’ That He Was Not Responsible for Otto Warmbier’s Death

President Donald Trump shakes hands with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un at the Capella Hotel on Sentosa island in Singapore, June 12, 2018. (Jonathan Ernst/Reuters)

President Trump on Thursday endorsed Kim Jong-un’s denial of responsibility for the brutal death of Otto Warmbier, the American college student who died in 2017 after being released from a North Korean labor camp in a coma.

“Some really bad things happened to Otto — some really really bad things. But [Kim] tells me that he didn’t know about it and I will take him at his word,” Trump said during a press conference in Hanoi, Vietnam.

Warmbier, 22, spent 17 months in captivity after being sentenced to 15 years of hard labor for stealing a propaganda poster from a Pyongyang hotel in January 2016. He died in June 2017, days after being returned to the U.S. in a coma. His exact cause of death remains unknown.

Trump added that Kim “felt really bad about” the situation but was unaware of Otto’s treatment in the labor camp, where, Trump speculated, he could have been assaulted by another inmate or otherwise harmed.

“I really don’t think it was in his interest at all,” Trump said, suggesting Kim had nothing to gain by killing Warmbier.

The comments came after the long-planned nuclear summit between Trump and Kim collapsed due to an impasse over Kim’s demand that the U.S immediately lift international sanctions in exchange for the closure of one of North Korea’s major nuclear facilities.

Something to Consider

If you enjoyed this article, we have a proposition for you: Join NRPLUS. Members get all of our content (including the magazine), no paywalls or content meters, an advertising-minimal experience, and unique access to our writers and editors (conference calls, social-media groups, etc.). And importantly, NRPLUS members help keep NR going. Consider it?

If you enjoyed this article, and were stimulated by its contents, we have a proposition for you: Join NRPLUS.

LEARN MORE

Most Popular

U.S.

Men Literally Died for That Flag, You Idiots

The American flag’s place in our culture is beginning to look less unassailable. The symbol itself is under attack, as we’ve seen with Nike dumping a shoe design featuring an early American flag, Megan Rapinoe defending her national-anthem protests (she says she will never sing the song again), and ... Read More
Books

The Plot against Kavanaugh

Justice on Trial, by Mollie Hemingway and Carrie Severino (Regnery,  256 pp., $28.99) The nomination and confirmation of Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court was the political event of 2018, though not for the reasons anyone expected. All High Court confirmations these days are fraught with emotion and tumult ... Read More
Politics & Policy

He Just Can’t Help Himself

By Saturday, the long-simmering fight between Nancy Pelosi and her allies on one side and the “squad” associated with Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez on the other had risen to an angrier and more destructive level at the Netroots Nation conference. Representative Ayanna Pressley, an African-American Massachusetts ... Read More
Politics & Policy

Ilhan Omar Is Completely Assimilated

Beto O’Rourke, the losing Texas Senate candidate who bootstrapped his way into becoming a losing presidential candidate, had a message for refugees who had come to America: Your new country is a hellhole. The former congressman told a roundtable of refugees and immigrants in Nashville, Tenn., last week: ... Read More
White House

On Gratitude and Immigration

Like both Rich and David, I consider it flatly inappropriate for the president of the United States to be telling Americans -- rhetorically or otherwise -- to “go back where you came from.” In consequence, you will find no defense of the president from me, either. What Trump tweeted over the weekend was ... Read More
Sports

We All Wanted to Love the Women’s Soccer Team

For the first time in my life, I did not root for an American team. Whatever the sport, I have always rooted American. And if those who called in to my radio show were representative of my audience, many millions of Americans made the same sad choice. It takes a lot for people like me not to root for an ... Read More
U.S.

The ‘Squad’ Gives a Gift to Donald Trump

On Sunday, Donald Trump gave the Democrats a gift -- comments that indicate he thinks native-born congresswomen he detests should “go back” to the countries of their ancestors. On Monday, the four congresswomen handed Trump a gift in return, managing to respond to the president’s insults in some of the most ... Read More