Skip To Content
Get Our Newsletter
JEWISH. INDEPENDENT. NONPROFIT.

Support the Forward

Funded by readers like you DonateSubscribe
Fast Forward

Trump Defends Kim Over Death Of Otto Warmbier

President Trump defended North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un on Thursday over the treatment of Otto Warmbier, an American student who was arrested in North Korea in 2015 and later returned to his family in a coma, from which he later died.

Speaking at a press conference after the end of a nuclear summit in Vietnam, Trump said he had spoken to Kim about Warmbier’s treatment. He said Kim feels badly about what occurred but that the dictator had only learned about the case after the fact.

“He tells me he didn’t know about it, and I take him at his word,” Trump said.

Warmbier, who was Jewish, was sentenced to 15 years of hard labor for allegedly stealing a propaganda poster while in the country. Korean authorities say that Warmbier contracted botulism; his family alleges that their son was “brutally tortured.” Warmbier’s American doctors said that he had severe brain damage.

Trump said when Warmbier returned in 2017 that the student was “tortured beyond belief.” He later credited the incident for instigating the first round of negotiations last year.

Warmbier’s parents won a $501 million lawsuit against the Kim regime, but are unlikely to ever collect.

Contact Aiden Pink at pink@forward.com or on Twitter, @aidenpink

Engage

  • SHARE YOUR FEEDBACK

  • UPCOMING EVENT

Republish This Story

Please read before republishing

We’re happy to make this story available to republish for free under an Attribution-Non Commercial-No Derivatives Creative Commons license as long as you follow our republishing guidelines, which require that you credit the Foward and retain our pixel. See our full guidelines for more information.

To republish, copy the HTML, which includes our tracking pixel, all paragraph styles and hyperlinks, the author byline, images, and credit to the Foward. Have questions? Please email us at editorial@forward.com.

We don't support Internet Explorer

Please use Chrome, Safari, Firefox, or Edge to view this site.