An incredulous Chris Wallace expressed outrage at President Donald Trump for saying he believed North Korean dictator Kim Jong-un’s claim that he didn’t know about the deadly torture of American student Otto Warmbier.
“This strikes me as a completely unforced error by the president and the White House. Why on an issue like this, there’s no question that Otto Warmbier was brutally tortured, basically killed by the North Koreans. Why on Earth would you side with Kim Jong Un over the Warmbier family and the sense of outrage,” he asked.
“First of all, there is a real question whether the captivity and the incarceration of an American is something that the dictator of North Korea wouldn’t know about,” Wallace continued. “But even if that’s true why would you want to get into this fight? The fact is the North Korean regime was responsible. You’re getting pushback from the Warmbier family. You’re getting pushback from the president’s former U.N. Ambassador, Nikki Haley.”
In a statement, the Warmbier family said they hold Kim Jong-Un responsible for Otto’s death.
“We have been respectful during this summit process,” the Cindy and Fred Warmbier said. “Now we must speak out. 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 president’s apparent defense of Kim sparked controversy and condemnation from members of his own party.
Americans know the cruelty that was placed on Otto Warmbier by the North Korean regime. Our hearts are with the Warmbier family for their strength and courage. We will never forget Otto. ❤️🇺🇸
— Nikki Haley (@NikkiHaley) February 28, 2019
Otto Warmbier’s imprisonment and death were heinous crimes at the hands of the brutal Kim Jong Un regime. We must never forget this regime’s despicable human rights record, even as we work to denuclearize the country.
— Brad Wenstrup (@RepBradWenstrup) February 28, 2019
“This is reprehensible what he just did. He gave cover… to a leader who knew very well what was going on with Otto Warmbier,” @RickSantorum says about Pres. Trump saying he believes Kim Jong Un’s claim he wasn’t aware of the American student’s condition https://t.co/2JAkMvsnCI pic.twitter.com/kdGjff7N7r
— CNN (@CNN) February 28, 2019
Republicans used to rail against the kind of weakness Trump displayed today, giving Kim Jong Un a total pass for killing Otto Warmbier.
The “bow down in front of & kiss the feet of a brutal dictator” kind of weakness Republicans pounded Obama for. Remember that?
— Joe Walsh (@WalshFreedom) February 28, 2019
(Video H/T Fox News)