President Trump said Tuesday Otto Warmbier, the now-deceased American college student held captive for more than a year by North Korea, should have been brought home by the U.S. months earlier in an implicit swipe at his predecessor.
"It's a disgrace what happened to Otto. It's a total disgrace what happened to Otto. It should never, ever be allowed to happen," Trump told reporters in the Oval Office. "And frankly, if he were brought home sooner, I think the results would have been a lot different."
Warmbier died Monday after returning to his home state of Ohio earlier this month. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, at Trump's instruction, secured Warmbier's medical evacuation. He returned to his family in a vegetative state, and doctors discovered he had suffered extensive brain damage in captivity, the cause of which is still unknown.
"He should have brought home that same day. The results would have been a lot different," Trump said, referring to the one-hour trial in North Korea that saw Warmbier sentenced to 15 years of hard labor during the Obama administration.
"What happened to Otto is a disgrace. And I spoke with his family. His family is incredible ... but he should have been brought home a long time ago. Thank you all very much."