President Trump slammed North Korea’s “brutal regime” Monday after the death of college student Otto Warmbier, who was released by the communist nation in a coma last week.
“Lot of bad things happened,” Trump said during a White House meeting with technology CEOs, “but at least we got him home to be with his parents.”
“It’s a brutal regime,” Trump went on, “and we’ll be able to handle it.”
Warmbier was held by North Korea for more than 17 months before he was medically evacuated June 13. He died Monday at University of Cincinnati Medical Center, near where he grew up in suburban Wyoming.
In a written statement, Trump said that “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.”
Warmbier’s family said in a statement that “the awful torturous mistreatment our son received at the hands of the North Koreans” meant that “no other outcome was possible beyond the sad one we experienced today.”
U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley, who has led the charge for tougher sanctions on North Korea over its missile program, said “Countless innocent men and women have died at the hand of the North Korean criminals, but the singular case of Otto Warmbier touches the American heart like no other.
“While Otto Warmbier’s memory will always be a blessing to his loved ones,” Haley added, “it will also serve as an indelible reminder to us of the barbaric nature of the North Korean dictatorship.”
Sen. Rob Portman, R-Ohio, said North Korea should be “universally condemned for its abhorrent behavior.” He added that Warmbier’s family “had to endure more than any family should have to bear.”
Ohio’s other senator, Democrat Sherrod Brown, said the country’s “despicable actions … must be condemned.”
“Our hearts are broken for Otto’s family and everyone who knew and loved him,” Brown added.
The state’s governor, John Kasich, described Warmbier as “a young man of exceptional spirit.”
“This horrendous situation further underscores the evil, oppressive nature of the North Korean regime that has such disregard for human life,” Kasich says.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.