The grieving parents of imprisoned and murdered college student Otto Warmbier are criticizing Donald Trump for complimenting Kim Jong-un and say they want President-elect Joe Biden to reach out to them to continue their work on North Korea‘s human rights abuses.
Cindy and Fred Warmbier told DailyMail.com that, to them, it doesn’t matter who is in the White House, as long as North Korea is being sanctioned and no other American suffers the same fate of their son.
However, Cindy has a gripe with Trump for being so kind to the dictator. ‘Complimenting Kim was wrong. Do you compliment Hitler?’ she said. She goes on to call Kim ‘a worm’ who is only successful because he was born into the ruling family.
Otto, a 22-year-old University of Virginia student from suburban Cincinnati, was sentenced to 15 years of hard labor in early 2016 for allegedly stealing a propaganda poster while on a school trip to North Korea. His parents say he was tortured and he died days after being returned to the U.S. in a vegetative state in June 2017.
Now the Warmbiers are hoping to continue their work with the Biden administration, saying, ‘It’s all about human rights. That was their platform, that’s our platform. It’s all about Otto’s rights. There needs to be accountability for an American student – our son.’
Cindy and Fred Warmbier told DailyMail.com that, to them, it doesn’t matter who is in the White House as long as North Korea’s human rights abuses are handled
Their son Otto was sentenced to 15 years of hard labor in 2016 for allegedly stealing a poster in North Korea before being returned to the U.S. in a coma
Cindy criticized Trump for his relationship with Kim Jong-un, saying ‘Complimenting Kim was wrong. Do you compliment Hitler?’. After their 2019 meeting, Trump said of Kim, ‘I may be wrong, but I believe that chairman Kim has a great and beautiful vision for his country, and only the United States, with me as president, can make that vision come true’
The Warmbiers admit that they are excited for a Biden presidency, with Fred saying, ‘I’m actually excited about that. It was a great day for democracy with the highest turnout in history from the most powerful country on earth.’
Fred also said the Trump administration has been ‘absolutely helpful.’ It wasn’t until Trump took office that the U.S. secured Otto’s release in June of 2017.
Speaking to DailyMail.com, the Warmbiers said they are excited about the new Biden-Harris administration, saying ‘I want them to reach out to us’
‘They brought Otto home, they gave us access to every department of government, they worked with us to prosecute the Kim regime, through sanctions, taking their assets and seizing the assets,’ he said.
But Fred did add that he has not been as excited for the Trump administration.
‘My son paid a horrendous price for me to be where I’m at today and I’m looking forward to a change,’ he said.
‘It doesn’t matter to the Warmbier family who is in the White House. Our mission doesn’t change’
Cindy said she hopes that President-elect Biden reaches out to the family. ‘I want them to reach out to us,’ she said, offering a message to Biden and Vice President-elect Harris: ‘It’s all about human rights.’
The Warmbiers disagree on Trump’s attempted relationship with Kim after meeting with the dictator during his presidency.
Fred said, ‘That option needed to be tried and that box was checked. I’m not sure if it was productive or successful,’ while Cindy criticized Trump’s ‘friendship’ with Kim.
After their 2019 meeting, Trump said of Kim, ‘I may be wrong, but I believe that chairman Kim has a great and beautiful vision for his country, and only the United States, with me as president, can make that vision come true.’
The Warmbiers revealed that that they have been successful in seizing assets from the North Korean regime and don’t care if they personally benefit as long as no one else meets the same fate as their son.
They also said that while they are still healing, they are not worried for their safety and will continue the fight for their son.
‘It’s all about human rights. That was their platform, that’s our platform,’ Cindy said of the Biden administration. ‘There needs to be accountability for an American’
The Warmbiers revealed that that they have been successful in seizing assets from the North Korean regime and don’t care if they personally benefit as long as no one else meets the same fate as their son
The Warmbiers admit that they are excited for a Biden presidency, with Fred saying, ‘I’m actually excited about that. It was a great day for democracy with the highest turnout in history from the most powerful country on earth’
Their son Otto traveled to North Korea from China while completing a study abroad program in Hong Kong at the end of 2015, as part of a tour group that included ten other Americans.
The group celebrated New Year’s Eve in Pyongyang, and at some point during the stay, Warmbier allegedly took down a propaganda poster from the wall of his hotel that he planned to take home as a souvenir.
He was arrested at Pyongyang airport shortly after, before tearfully confessing on North Korean television six weeks into his detention that he had taken the poster.
A court sentenced Warmbier to 15 years in prison with hard labor for his confessed crime. He mysteriously fell into a coma following the 2016 sightseeing trip gone wrong.
An Ohio coroner said Warmbier died from a lack of oxygen and blood to the brain. Pyongyang blamed botulism and ingestion of a sleeping pill and dismissed torture claims.
Experts in the U.S. could find no such evidence, although they said they could not rule it out, and determined that he’d most likely experienced a trauma that led to oxygen deprivation in his brain.
Months after Obama left office, North Korea agreed to release the student, who arrived home in a vegetative state, to the Trump administrative in June 2017.
Otto was seen smiling as he had his photo taken in front of bronze statues of Kim Jong-Un and Kim Jong II before his arrest and death
Otto is seen crying while speaking to reporters in Pyongyang, North Korea in 2016 and right, in June 2017, in a vegetative state while being carried off an airplane at Lunken Airport in Cincinnati
Trump claimed in 2017, after Warmbier’s release, that the boy had been ‘tortured beyond belief’ and belittled North Korean leader Kim Jong-un as Little Rocket Man
After his death, Pyongyang claimed that it had been wrongly accused in a ‘smear campaign’ and Warmbier’s treatment in prison had been nothing but ‘humanitarian.’
Trump claimed in 2017, after Warmbier’s release, that the boy had been ‘tortured beyond belief’ and belittled North Korean leader Kim Jong-un as Little Rocket Man.
The U.S. passed legislation barring Americans from traveling to North Korea after the student’s death, and led a United Nations charge to introduce hefty sanctions on Pyongyang for its illicit nuclear program.
But by early 2018, the relationship between the U.S. and North Korea began to change when Kim extended an olive branch to the South when the neighboring democracy hosted that year’s Winter Olympics.
By that summer Trump and Kim were exchanging private letters. They met in person for the first time in Singapore in June of 2018 after Trump hosted a North Korean delegation at the White House for talks on nuclear disarmament.
The leaders have continued to converse through letters that Trump says turned he and Kim into great friends.
Asked in Hanoi about the message, in the context of Warmbier’s death, Trump said, ‘I know the Warmbier family very well. I think they’re an incredible family. What happened is horrible. I really believe something very bad happened to him, and I don’t think that the top leadership knew about it.’