Despite the preoccupation of the media on the recent congressional shooting North Korea is once again hitting the headlines with their vicious behavior. American college student and former North-Korean prisoner Otto Warmbier was released from detention after spending more than a year in jail for ripping down a poster. Now his family is blasting the Obama administration for their handling of the situation. Warmbier’s father spoke at a press conference on Thursday where they updated the media on his state.
Doctors told reporters that Warmbier had received extensive brain damage from a lack of oxygen to the brain and admitted they do not believe Pyongyang’s claims that the college student had contracted botulism. Spokespeople for the University of Cincinnati Medical Center characterized his state as a severe neurological injury.
Dr. Daniel Kanter who is a neurologist said,
“He shows no signs of understanding language or responding to verbal commands, he is in a state of unresponsive wakefulness.”
Warmbier’s father Fred Warmbier said the following at the press conference,
“I’m proud of Otto, and the courage he showed by going to North Korea. The fact that he was taken and treated this way is horrible. They’re brutal and they’re terroristic. We see the results of their actions with Otto. I don’t know what being in shock is, but I’m pretty sure I was. There is no excuse for any civilized nation to have kept his condition secret and denied him top-notch medical care for so long. Nobody has seen Otto since March of 2016. I feel relief that Otto is now home in the arms of those who love him. We are mixed with feelings of anger that he was so brutally treated for so long.”
At the press conference, Fred Warmbier was wearing the same beige jacket his son wore when he was on television being sentenced in a North Korean courtroom. His wife Cindy Warmbier was at their son’s side at the hospital and he made his remarks by himself. During his speech, he indicated he believes the North Korean government is lying about how his son came to be in the condition he was in. Furthermore, they do not believe the explanation their son become comatose after contracting botulism and being given a sleeping pill.
The Warmbier family was notified of his condition just a week ago despite the North Korean government saying that Otto has been in this condition since shortly after his trial close to 14 months ago. But these negative circumstances have not stopped the Warmbier family from expressing their gratitude to those who helped get their son back. Most notably, the current administration.
Fred Warmbier thanked both President Trump and Ohio Senator Rob Portman for helping them get their son back to the United States. He admitted he had a very good phone call with President Trump and said the President was primarily focused on how the family was doing. He said,
“It was a really nice conversation. It was kind, and it was, ‘Are you taking care of yourself?’ and ‘We worked hard, and I’m sorry this is the outcome.’ He told me a little bit about Secretary Tillerson and Joe Yun, and they teamed up and made things happen. He was very candid. It was a nice conversation. To be honest with you, I had avoided conversations with him, because to what end?” he added. “I’m dealing with my son. This is about Otto. But I did take the call, and it was gracious, and it was nice, and it felt good, and I thank him for that. We are extremely grateful for their efforts and concern.”
That is when Fred Warmbier took aim at the Obama administration for failing their son and their family for not working harder to bring him home. He vociferously denounced President Obama saying the following,
“When Otto was first taken, we were advised by the past administration to take a low profile while they worked to obtain his release. We did so, without result. Earlier this year, Cindy and I decided the time for strategic patience was over, and we made a few media appearances and traveled to Washington to meet with Ambassador Joe Yun at the State Department. It is my understanding that Ambassador Yun and his team, at the direction of the president, aggressively pursued resolution of the situation. They have our thanks for bringing Otto home.”
When a reporter asked if he felt President Obama could have done more he was quick to reaffirm that notion saying,
“I think the results speak for themselves. We’ve been to Washington, D.C. over a dozen times. We met everyone in the past administration from John Kerry to the Swedish ambassador, Sternloff, who lives in Pyongyang. He came in town, we met his aide when he came in town. We’ve met our senators, our congressmen. We’ve worked with Governor Richardson,” he said, referring to former New Mexico Governor Bill Richardson, who also served as U.S. ambassador to the United Nations. Those were our efforts. We relied on this false premise that they would treat Otto fairly and would let him go. Otto was held as a war criminal.
They termed his confinement as a war criminal.We did what we could. We tried to stay low. We were advised that it was important that you don’t upset the North Koreans. We followed that logic. There came a time that that doesn’t seem to have any impact. So we went public with an interview on Tucker Carlson’s show, and then did a couple of written pieces, and then very quickly we have Otto home.”
He also noted he was never granted a face to face interview with former President Obama. Actions speak louder than words and President Trump has already been able to get Otto Warmbier as well as an Egyptian-American prisoner released from jail. Our President is a man of action.
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