The ‘America first’ president just gave Kim Jong Un cover for the murder of an American student – Washington Examiner

It’s amazing how far people can get with President Trump so long as they dangle in front of him the promise of prestige.

You can be a murderous third-world dictator and oversee the slow execution of an American citizen, and the president will defend you for it before the entire world just so long as he believes doing so will get him closer to boosting his own personal and professional capital.

This isn’t hyperbole either. The president did exactly this Thursday during a joint press conference in Hanoi, Vietnam, with North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un. Trump actually defended the potbellied tyrant king’s claim that he was in the dark in 2016 when his regime imprisoned and tortured a University of Virginia student from Ohio.

Otto Warmbier, who was beaten into a coma by North Korean prison guards during his 17-month imprisonment, died shortly after arriving back in the U.S. in June 2017.

“He felt badly about it. He felt very badly,” Trump said Thursday after his second summit with Kim, adding they discussed Warmbier’s death privately. “He tells me that he didn’t know about it and I will take him at his word.”

The president added that it wouldn’t have been in Kim’s interest for Warmbier to be irreparably harmed, saying, “I don’t think that the top leadership knew about it. I don’t believe that [Kim] would have allowed that to happen.”

“It just wasn’t to his advantage to allow that to happen,” Trump said.

Considering the Kim regime maintains an iron grip on all information that comes in and out of North Korea, and the fact that he has a murderous special police who are tasked specifically with keeping him informed of all goings on in the country, Trump’s suggestion that the North Korean despot wasn’t aware of what was happening to Warmbier beggars belief.

Trump also appeared to downplay the fact that North Korea is a country-sized concentration camp, which Kim works viciously to control.

“You’ve got a lot of people,” Trump said during Thursday’s press conference. “Big country, a lot of people. And in those prisons and those camps, you’ve got a lot of people. And some really bad things happened to Otto. … But [Kim] tells me he didn’t know about it.”

Excuse me, but what the heck is this?

This is the same president who said of Warmbier’s death at the 2018 State of the Union address: “We need only look at the depraved character of the North Korean regime to understand the nature of the nuclear threat.”

This is the same president who said after his first summit with Kim: “I think without Otto this would not have happened. Something happened from that day — it was a terrible thing. It was brutal. A lot of people started to focus on what was going on, including North Korea. I really think that Otto is someone who did not die in vain.”

But now? Well, now Trump believes he is this much closer to getting North Korea to agree to denuclearize. He has dreams of winning credit for what many believe is impossible. He has dreams of finally winning the approval of all those people who mock and curse him. So, he’s playing nice with Kim, going so far as to absolve the cruel dictator of any responsibility for the murder of an American college student.

I generally agree with my Washington Examiner colleague Tom Rogan when he writes that Warmbier’s murder should not alter U.S. policy towards North Korea. But there’s a canyon between “complimentary diplomacy” and running defense for a man whose many, many crimes include the torture and murder of an American citizen.

America first, sure, Trump says. Just after we cozy up to this insane, anti-U.S. tyrant whose hatchet men very recently beat an American citizen to death.

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