The parents of slain American student Otto Warmbier planned to have dinner with President Trump Saturday evening, even though they have clashed over Trump’s defense of North Korean dictator Kim Jong-un.
Fred and Cindy Warmbier were going to the White House despite being angered by Trump’s statement that he believes Kim’s claim that he knew nothing about their son’s mistreatment.
Otto Warmbier was convicted of trying to steal a propaganda poster while in the North Korea capital and spent 17 months in prison. He died in 2017 at age 22 just days after being returned to the United States in a vegetative state.
Trump’s ambassador to Germany, Richard Grenell, was expected to join the dinner. He is on Trump’s short list of candidates to replace ousted national security adviser John Bolton, who also feuded with Trump over his stance toward North Korea.
At the time of Otto Warmbier’s death, Trump regularly railed against Kim as a brutal ruler and a “Rocket Man” whose nuclear program was a danger to world peace.
He changed his tune at their first summit in Singapore, saying he “fell in love” with the strongman and pronounced the threat from North Korea over for good.
Trump later said he asked Kim about Warmbier’s torture and the North Korean insisted he knew nothing about it. Trump says he takes Kim at his word, even though experts on the reclusive regime say Kim would have to be aware of the abuse of an American captive.
American doctors say Warmbier suffered severe brain damage, although they were unable to determine what caused it. North Korea claims he fell into a coma that resulted from botulism and a sleeping pill.
With News Wire Services