Otto Warmbier was imprisoned in North Korea for more than a year. He died less than a week after his release back to the U.S.
WASHINGTON — A mix of sadness and outrage flooded from Cincinnati to Washington on Monday amid the news that Wyoming, Ohio, native Otto Warmbier had died less than a week after being released from his 17-month-long detention in North Korea.
“At least we got him home to be with his parents where they were so happy to see him even though he was in very tough condition,” President Trump said before a meeting of high-tech CEOs on Monday afternoon.
Referring to his imprisonment in North Korea, Trump said, “A lot of bad things happened … It is a brutal regime and we’ll be able to handle it.”
It was not immediately clear if the president was signalling further escalation of tensions with that repressive dictatorship. In an official White House statement released later on Monday, Trump offered his “deepest condolences” to Warmbier’s family and suggested the college student’s death would be a factor in U.S. policy toward North Korea.
“Otto’s fate deepens my administration’s determination to prevent such tragedies from befalling innocent people at the hands of regimes that do not respect the rule of law or basic human decency,” Trump said. “The United States once again condemns the brutality of the North Korean regime as we mourn its latest victim.”
In Congress, some of the rhetoric turned red-hot, with several lawmakers calling Warmbier’s death a “murder” and saying the U.S. should respond forcefully, although they did not detail what that response should be.
“Let us state the facts plainly: Otto Warmbier, an American citizen, was murdered by the Kim Jong-un regime,” said Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee. McCain noted that North Korea has…