President Donald Trump on Thursday told reporters that he took North Korean regime leader Kim Jong-un “at his word” on the death of American student Otto Warmbier.
“I don’t believe he would have allowed that,” Trump said during a press conference after a failed denuclearization summit with Kim. “He felt very badly about it. … He tells me that he didn’t know about it and I will take him at his word.”
"I will take him at his word": President Trump says he believes Kim Jong Un didn't know what happened to Otto Warmbier, the American college student who was imprisoned in North Korea and died days after returning to the U.S. in a coma https://t.co/aa0P609oE3 pic.twitter.com/5T0U5r0RIy
— CBS News (@CBSNews) February 28, 2019
Trump suggested that because there are “a lot of people” in North Korea and specifically in North Korea’s prison camps, it was feasible that Kim wouldn’t know about the torture of Warmbier, who was returned to the U.S. after he was imprisoned for nearly a year and a half. Warmbier died right after he returned to the U.S. and doctors assessed that he had been in a coma for more than a year.
It’s perplexing that Trump would believe Kim’s denials that he knew about what was going on with Warmbier while he was imprisoned given the public nature of the American student’s case. Warmbier’s parents were vocal about his trial and Warmbier was even forced to hold a press conference to beg for his freedom after he was arrested.