Trump on Warmbier Remarks: 'I Never Like Being Misinterpreted'

'Of course I hold North Korea responsible,' president tweeted, not naming Kim Jong Un directly
By Jenn Gidman,  Newser Staff
Posted Mar 2, 2019 6:30 AM CST
After Backlash, Trump Says Warmbier Remarks Were 'Misinterpreted'
In this Feb. 28, 2019, photo, President Trump speaks during a news conference in Hanoi, Vietnam, after a summit with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un.   (AP Photo/Evan Vucci, File)

President Trump said Thursday that "some really, really bad things" happened to college student Otto Warmbier in North Korea, leading to his eventual death after he was returned to the US, but Trump added that he believed Kim Jong Un when he said he had no clue about what was going on with Warmbier at the time. This proclamation set off a firestorm of criticism, including from Warmbier's parents, who noted in a short statement Friday that "Kim and his evil regime are responsible for the death of our son Otto" and "responsible for unimaginable cruelty and inhumanity." Fred and Cindy Warmbier also blasted Trump, albeit without mentioning his name, by noting: "No excuses or lavish praise can change that." Later Friday, Trump claimed everyone took what he said the wrong way.

"I never like being misinterpreted, but especially when it comes to Otto Warmbier and his great family," he tweeted. "Of course I hold North Korea responsible for Otto's mistreatment and death." The president didn't directly name Kim, however, and experts say there's almost zero chance that Warmbier, who was only one of a handful of Americans in North Korea's custody at the time, could've been subjected to such torture without Kim's OK, per USA Today. Trump also maintained in his tweets that his administration deserved the kudos for getting Warmbier out in the first place—"the previous Administration did nothing"—and that Warmbier "will not have died in vain. Otto and his family have become a tremendous symbol of strong passion and strength, which will last for many years into the future. I love Otto and think of him often!" (More President Trump stories.)

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