On Monday night, President Trump made a statement at the White House announcing that the American North Korean detainee, Otto Warmbier, had passed away. Warmbier had recently been brought back to the United States after slipping into a coma while imprisoned in North Korea. The North Korean regime claims that Warmbier was fighting a botulism infection and had used a sleeping pill.
American doctors who examined Warmbier after his return home have confirmed that there was no evidence to suggest that those claims are true. It is believed that Warmbier did suffer serious brain damage, possibly as a result of a traumatic injury or oxygen deprivation.
During his statement, President Trump said that Otto Warmbier had spent a year and a half in the communist nation of North Korea, serving a 15-year prison sentence. Trump said that a lot of bad things happened to Warmbier, but at least his parents were able to see him once again.
Trump also implied that as a result of Warmbier’s death, there would be serious repercussions for North Korea. The president said that North Korea is a “brutal regime” and that he will be “able to handle it.”
Rex Tillerson, Secretary of State, extended his condolences to the Warmbier family and offered his prayers in this time of grief. He also said that the Trump administration holds North Korea completely accountable for their son’s unjust imprisonment, and that they are currently demanding the country release the three other American citizens who are still being illegally detained.
Blaming the Obama Administration
Earlier in June, the family of Otto Warmbier blamed their experiences on the action – or lack of action – of the Obama administration. During a press conference, Warmbier’s doctors explained how he had suffered extreme brain damage. They explained that the young man had no signs of being able to understand basic language, and he was not responding to any verbal commands. The doctors described the condition of the 22-year-old as “unresponsive wakefulness.”
Warmbier’s father, Fred Warmbier, also had some choice words about the Obama administration. He said that when Otto was first taken, Obama’s administration advised them to maintain a low profile while they worked with the North Koreans to negotiate a release. Fred Warmbier said that they complied with that request, but when asked whether he believed the Obama administration could have done more, the father said that the results should speak for themselves.
Warmbier went on to say that he went to Washington D.C. more than a dozen times, meeting everybody from the Swedish ambassador to John Kerry, without positive results. He also said that while they worked as hard as they could to get their son released, they were working on the “false premise” that the North Koreans would treat him fairly and eventually let him go.
During the press conference, Otto Warmbier’s parents also confirmed that their son was held as a war criminal. They had been advised to keep a low profile to avoid upsetting the North Koreans. When asked whether they had ever met with former President Obama in a face-to-face discussion, they confirmed that no such meeting never happened.
The family also said that the North Koreans are still luring in young people to travel to the country through tour agencies, using slick Internet ads and making claims that Americans will never get detained if they are traveling on a tour.
“They lure Americans, and then they take them hostage, and then they do things to them,” Fred Warmbier charged.