CINCINNATI (AP) – President Donald Trump says the death of a 22-year-old college student who was detained for nearly a year and a half in North Korea is a “total disgrace.”
The president says if Otto Warmbier had been returned home to the U.S. earlier, “I think the result would have been a lot different.”
Trump spoke briefly about Warmbier during an Oval Office meeting with the president of Ukraine.
Trump says he spoke with Warmbier’s parents and says it’s “incredible what they’ve gone through.”
Trump adds, “he should have been brought home a long time ago.”
The college student died shortly after his return to Ohio after being held for more than 17 months. He was accused of trying to steal a propaganda banner while visiting with a tour group and was sentenced to 15 years in prison with hard labor.
Warmbier’s parents haven’t cited a cause of death, but “awful, torturous mistreatment” by North Korea.
A public funeral service for Warmbier has been scheduled for Thursday at his hometown high school in Ohio.
He was salutatorian of his 2013 high school class before attending the University of Virginia.
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