While most Americans were glued to the testimony of Michael Cohen, who brought receipts to the House Oversight Committee of multiple felonies committed by Donald Trump, including during his time in office as president, Trump was halfway across the world in Vietnam. Trump met with North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un in an effort to get the dictator to denuclearize. It was supposed to be his crowning foreign policy achievement. Instead, Trump bombed, coming home empty-handed, with nothing but a string of embarrassments.
Aside from not getting any assurances that North Korea would denuclearize, Trump actually conceded ground. The United States will no longer demand North Korea agree to disclose full accounting of nuclear weapons and ballistic missile programs! It’s a truly unbelievable concession, a stunning display of gross foreign policy incompetence, and it is not in the interest of national or world security.
But that wasn’t the most embarrassing development from the meetings. That would be Donald Trump once again taking the word of brutal dictator over the findings of U.S. intelligence services. Taking questions from the media, Trump was asked about Otto Warmbier, the American college student who traveled to North Korea and was imprisoned there for a year and a half. He was released back to U.S. custody in June 2017, but arrived with severe brain damage and died only six days after being reunited with his family. GQ magazine detailed Warmbier’s reunion with his family, and it is nothing short of heartbreaking. Before you read Trump’s remarks about Warmbier and Kim Jong Un, it’s important to read what Otto’s parents, Fred and Cindy, discovered about their son when he returned.
Halfway up the airplane’s stairs, over the whine of the still-cycling engines, Fred later said, he heard a guttural “inhuman” howling and wondered what it was. But when he stepped into the cabin cluttered with medical equipment, he found its source: Otto, strapped to a stretcher, jerking violently against his restraints and wailing.
Cindy was prepared for her son to be changed, but she had not expected this. Otto’s arms and legs were “totally deformed,” according to his parents. His wavy brown locks had been buzzed off. A feeding tube infiltrated his nostrils. “It looked like someone had taken a pair of pliers and re-arranged his bottom teeth,” as Fred would say. According to Cindy, Otto’s sister fled the plane, screaming, and Cindy ran after her.
Here is Otto Warmbier pleading with North Korean officials for leniency at his sentencing. He received a 15-year hard labor prison sentence for allegedly stealing a propaganda poster at his North Korean hotel the night before his group left the country.