Otto Warmbier’s Parents Release Scathing Statement Responding to Trump’s Defense of Kim Jong Un

“We have been respectful during this summit process. Now we must speak out.”

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The parents of Otto Warmbier, the American college student who died after being imprisoned in a North Korean labor camp, have issued a scathing statement responding to President Donald Trump’s recent comments defending North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un.

The family’s statement, released Friday, specifically and unequivocally pushed back against Trump’s claim that he believed the leader had been unaware of Warmbier’s detainment.

“We have been respectful during this summit process. Now we must speak out,” Fred and Cindy Warmbier wrote. “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.”

The statement follows Trump’s shocking defense of Kim at the close of a failed nuclear summit between the two countries in Hanoi, Vietnam, this week, during which Trump told reporters that he believed the North Korean leader felt “badly” about what had happened to Warmbier. “I don’t believe he would have allowed that to happen,” Trump said during a press conference. “He tells me that he didn’t know about it and I will take him at his word.”

He continued, “Those prisons are rough, they’re rough places, and bad things happened. But I really don’t believe that he—I don’t believe that he knew about it.”

Warmbier died in 2017 after being returned to the United States in a coma.

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SIX TRUTHS

Reclaiming power from those who abuse it often starts with telling the truth. And in "This Is How Authoritarians Get Defeated," MoJo's Monika Bauerlein unpacks six truths to remember during the homestretch of an election where democracy, truth, and decency are on the line.

Truth #1: The chaos is the point.

Truth #2: Team Reality is bigger than it seems.

Truth #3: Facebook owns this.

Truth #4: When we go to work, we're in the fight.

Truth #5: It's about minority rule.

Truth #6: The only thing that can save us is…us.

Please take a moment to see how all these truths add up, because what happens in the weeks and months ahead will reverberate for at least a generation and we better be prepared.

And if you think journalism like Mother Jones'—that calls it like it is, that will never acquiesce to power, that looks where others don't—can help guide us through this historic, high-stakes moment, and you're able to right now, please help us reach our $350,000 goal by October 31 with a donation today. It's all hands on deck for democracy.

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