Trump said he had spoken with the Warmbier family and conveyed his sympathies, and he repeated his assertion that the 22-year-old might have survived his coma had he been returned to the United States earlier.
“He should have been brought home that same day,” Trump said. “The results would have been a lot different.”
It was unclear what date Trump was referring to, but it might have been the day in January 2016 when Warmbier was arrested during a brief tourist visit to North Korea. He was detained by the North Korean government until his release last week. Warmbier was medically evacuated and returned home in a coma, and died Monday afternoon.
Trump made his comments in the Oval Office during a meeting with Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko.
Warmbier's father, Fred Warmbier, has praised Trump for helping secure his son's release. Asked a few days ago whether he felt the Obama administration had not done enough to help his family, Warmbier said, “I think the results speak for themselves.”
On Sunday, Donald Trump Jr., the president's eldest son, tweeted a story with the headline, “Father Of Otto Warmbier: Obama Admin Told Us To Keep Quiet, Trump Admin Brought Him Home,” and wrote: “Not surprising at all!”