Secretary of State Mike Pompeo went to Capitol Hill on Wednesday for a hearing with the House Foreign Affairs Committee and there were a few tense moments.
At one point, Pompeo was confronted over the Trump administration’s response to the murder of Washington Post journalist Jamal Khashoggi.
One of the more telling exchanges came between Pompeo and Congressman Tom Malinowski of New Jersey. Malinowski asked the secretary of state if Kim Jong Un was responsible for the decision not to release Otto Warmbier until he was “on death’s door.”
Pompeo tried to dodge, referring to President Donald Trump’s statement before saying, “We all know that the North Korean regime was responsible for the tragedy that occurred to Otto Warmbier.” He went on to say that Warmbier’s family “suffered mightily.”
Malinowski asked Pompeo “what’s to like about Kim Jong Un,” referring to Trump’s statement last week that he will ease sanctions on North Korea because he “likes” the dictator. Instead of answering, Pompeo said, “Don’t make this a political football, it’s inappropriate.”
Watch the video below:
MALINOWSKI: Is Kim Jong Un responsible for North Korea's forced labor camps?
POMPEO: He's the leader of the country
M: Was Kim responsible for Otto Warmbier's death?
P: I love the Warmbier family dearly
M: So what's to like about Kim?
P: Don't make this a political football pic.twitter.com/ugfor76BN7
— Aaron Rupar (@atrupar) March 27, 2019
Malinowski went on to ask if Trump has ever talked about German Chancellor Angela Merkel in the way that he talks about Kim Jong Un. When asked if Trump has ever referred to Merkel as a friend, Pompeo said, “I’ve heard him talk about her that way, yes.”
At a summit with the North Korean leader in February, Trump said that he believes Kim Jong Un’s assertion that he didn’t know about Warmbier’s condition. After that remark, Warmbier’s family spoke out, saying in a statement, “Kim and his evil regime are responsible for the death of our son Otto. Kim and his evil regime are responsible for unimaginable cruelty and inhumanity. No excuses or lavish praise can change that.”
Trump has been vocal about his relationship with the North Korean dictator and at a rally in September, he declared, “We fell in love.”