After President Donald Trump met with the North Korean despot Kim Jong Un in Singapore, he credited the summit on the death of American student Otto Warmbier.
“Otto Warmbier is a very special person, his parents are good friends of mine,” Trump told reporters from Singapore. “I think without Otto this would not have happened.”
However, the U.S. commander-in-chief initially dodged the questions on whether he discussed Warmbier’s untimely death with Kim, whose regime is responsible for it. (He never actually answered whether the matter was discussed during the meeting.)
However, Trump did call the North Korean leader “very talented,” resulting in a massive rebuke from social media users.
Surreal to watch Trump cozy up to a dictator who murdered Otto Warmbier and threatened to nuke America, just days after viciously attacking our closest allies — even those who came to our aid during 9/11. #TrumpKimSummit— Kaivan Shroff (@KaivanShroff) June 12, 2018
1 year ago today, Otto Warmbier was returned to the U.S. in a coma induced by torture at the hands of Kim Jong Un. He would die 1 week later (A North Korean murder of an American citizen).— TO? ?O?E T?AViS ???? (@TopRopeTravis) June 12, 2018
This was how Donald Trump responded... By complimenting Kim and inviting him to the U.S. pic.twitter.com/EIbHFkKYuM
Trump's never looked prouder & happier to finally got his chance to shake the hands that tortured the life out of American, Otto Warmbier. #Brawndo #TrumpKimSummit #TrumpRussia pic.twitter.com/PDDFFhQzYQ— Power VO (@PowerVoiceOver) June 12, 2018
An "honor" to meet the man who maintains slave labor camps, who periodically attacks the ships of our ally South Korea and whose regime is responsible for the death of Otto Warmbier? Trump hates Canada but loves the Gulag?— Frank Schaeffer (@Frank_Schaeffer) June 12, 2018
The POTUS maintained his rhetoric when talking to Fox News’ Sean Hannity in an exclusive interview after the summit.
“I think without him, this whole thing wouldn’t have happened because it crystallized when he came back in that condition,” Trump said. “It crystallized so much, to so many people will come maybe even to the other side, quite frankly. I think that he truly did not die in vain.”
Trump also insisted America has “gotten a lot” from the summit, a claim that critics do not agree with.
“We got our hostages back and you are right, we didn’t pay for that. He did such a smart thing, and I feel so badly about Otto Warmbier, that was the one thing,” Trump continued. “He did not die in vain. I actually believed, and I’ve gotten very friendly with his parents. They are incredible people, devastated as you can imagine.”
Trump credits his purported success with Kim Jong Un to the power of his personality.— Aaron Rupar (@atrupar) June 13, 2018
"Others wanted to do and it never worked out, it probably never could have worked out."
Claims Otto Warmbier "did not die in vain." pic.twitter.com/CBjheZWCvP
Warmbier was flown back to the U.S. in 2017 after Trump directed the State Department to secure his release.
The American student was sentenced to 15 years of hard labor in North Korea in 2016 after he was detained for allegedly stealing a propaganda poster while travelling with a tour group.
Warmbier’s condition on his return was so critical; he could not speak or see. He died a few days later.
However, Warmbier’s parents, who have sued North Korea for the death of their son, were surprisingly pleased with Trump calling their son’s tragic demise a reason for the summit, in which he legitimized a dictator.
We appreciate President Trump's recent comments about our family,” Fred and Cindy Warmbier said in a statement. “We are proud of Otto and miss him. Hopefully something positive can come from this.”
Even though, the parents have praised Trump’s comments, their lawsuit against North Korea remains.
Thumbnail/ Banner Credits: Kevin Lim/The Straits Times via REUTERS, REUTERS/Kyodo