Amid President Donald Trump’s historic summit with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, some criticized the president for meeting with the person or praising the person responsible for the death of University of Virginia student Otto Warmbier last year:
This is Otto Warmbier, an American college student jailed in North Korea for stealing a poster.
Here, he begs for forgiveness.
When Kim Jong Un returned 22-year-old Otto to the U.S., he was deaf, blind, and died within days.
— Kaivan Shroff (@KaivanShroff) June 12, 2018
.@benshapiro: “If the president really wants to make sure that Otto Warmbier didn’t die in vain then I think that it is incumbent on him to be as harsh as humanly possible on the Kim regime.” pic.twitter.com/eiXkJMAPtG
— Fox News (@FoxNews) June 12, 2018
So sad that the Trump is meeting with the most totalitarian leader in the world and won’t let the words “human rights” past his lips. This betrays Otto Warmbier, Megumi Yokota, and 100k prisoners. A look at NK human rights: https://t.co/rVC066psCQ https://t.co/tRzvWXM71f
— Nicholas Kristof (@NickKristof) June 11, 2018
But when asked about Kim’s brutality, Trump argued that Monday’s historic summit was evidence that Warmbier “did not die in vain.”
Watch the video below:
— CNN Breaking News (@cnnbrk) June 12, 2018
“Otto Warmbier is a very special person, and he will be for a long time in my life. […] I think without Otto, this would not have happened,” Trump said.
The president argued that Warmbier’s death shifted people’s focus to the situation in North Korea.
“Something happened from that day — it was a terrible thing, it was brutal — but a lot of people started to focus on what was going on,” Trump said.
Trump’s comments came in response to NBC News’ question about how he could call Kim “very talented” despite his record of brutality.
“Well, he is very talented,” Trump said of Kim before describing how the North Korean leader took over the country at a young age.
“Anybody that takes over a situation like he did at 26 years of age and is able to run it and run it tough,” Trump said. “Very few people at that age — you can take one out of 10,000 probably couldn’t do it,” he added.