- The Washington Times - Saturday, September 14, 2019

President Trump on Saturday will reportedly host the parents of Otto Warmbier, the U.S. college student who was held captive by North Korea for 17 months and died shortly after.

Fred and Cindy Warmbier are slated to have dinner at the White House with Mr. Trump and Richard Grenell, the U.S. ambassador to Germany, CNN reported, citing two unnamed administration sources.

The White House did not immediately return a message requesting comment.

Warmbier, a University of Virginia student from Ohio, was arrested while visiting Pyongyang in early 2016 and accused of trying to steal a propaganda poster from a hotel. He remained in North Korean custody until June 2017, when he was returned to the U.S. in a comatose state and died within days. He was 22.

The Warmbiers have blamed their son’s death on Kim Jong Un, the autocratic leader of North Korea whose brutal regime remains subject to sanctions imposed by the U.S. and others for various blatant violations of international law.

Mr. Trump told reporters after meeting with the North Korean leader that he did not believe he was personally responsible for the student’s death, however.

“He felt badly about it,” Mr. Trump said after they spoke during a summit held in February in Hanoi. “He felt very badly. Some really bad things happened to Otto — some really, really bad things. But he tells me that he didn’t know about it, and I will take him at his word.”

It was not clear how the White House dinner was arranged or if anyone else will attend, CNN reported.

Mr. Grenell, the ambassador, met with the Warmbiers when they visited Germany in August and subsequently posted about it on social media.

“Cindy is focused on bringing some justice to her family — and we are ready to help,” Mr. Grenell wrote on Instagram after meeting Mrs. Warmbier.

• Andrew Blake can be reached at ablake@washingtontimes.com.

Copyright © 2022 The Washington Times, LLC. Click here for reprint permission.

Please read our comment policy before commenting.

Click to Read More and View Comments

Click to Hide