- The Washington Times - Friday, September 20, 2019

President Trump said he hosted a “very touching” dinner with the family of the late Otto Warmbier, and he wished the Obama administration had worked faster to obtain the college student’s release from North Korea before it was too late to save his life.

“We did that dinner really in Otto’s honor,” Mr. Trump said Friday at a White House news conference. “It was very touching and really very beautiful. We talked about Otto.”

Mr. Trump invited Mr. Warmbier’s parents, Fred and Cindy Wambier of Cincinnati, Ohio, for the dinner at the White House last Saturday night. Otto Warmer died in 2017 shortly after the Trump administration gained his release from captivity in North Korea, where he spent 17 months in prison after being convicted of trying to steal a propaganda poster.

He died at age 22 after being returned to the U.S. in a coma. North Korea has denied he was mistreated.

Mr. Trump praised his top hostage negotiator and newly appointed national security adviser, Robert O’Brien, but said the previous administration should have pressed sooner for Mr. Warmbier’s release.

“People should have moved faster,” Mr. Trump said. “He was there for a long time. With hostages, you have to move fast. Sometimes it’s just too late. We got him [Mr. Warmbier] home but he was in horrible, horrible condition.”

• Dave Boyer can be reached at dboyer@washingtontimes.com.

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