President Trumps decision to walk away from his second summit with North Korean Dictator Kim Jong-Un on Thursday is earning bi-partisan applause.
His comments on the late University of Virginia student, and former North Korean prisoner, Otto Warmbier, have been much more controversial.
The president reportedly cut the summit short, because both parties were unable to agree on removing sanctions as they seek a path on Pyongyang’s denuclearization. The president told reporters at a post-summit news conference “sometimes you have to walk.”
“If the president’s judgment is at this point Kim Jong-Un and North Korea are not serious, and the United States is not gonna be part of something that is not serious. I’m glad he made that call,” said Senator Tim Kaine (D – Va.)
Kaine noted that both leaders made comments at the end of the summit suggesting that the door is still open.
Kaine’s tone, took a sharp turn when Warmbier came up. The UVA student was arrested during a 2016 visit to Pyongyang for taking a propaganda banner from a hotel and sentenced to 15 years of hard labor. Warmbier was returned to the U.S. in a coma, and died shortly after being released from 17 months of detention.
His cause of death remains a mystery. North Korea blamed botulism. Kaine asserted that Warmbier had been “tortured and killed by the North Korean regime.”
Thursday, Trump told reporters that Jong-Un told him he didn’t know about Warmbier’s ordeal and that he would take him at his word.
“The notion that Kim Jong-Un would have been unaware of the physical condition of this very highly publicized American prisoner is just beyond belief and if President Trump accepts Kim Jong-Un’s ‘I didn’t know anything about it..” That is just dangerously naive.” said Kaine.