Former President Barack Obama has released a statement on Otto Warmbier.
Warmbier, the American college student who was sentenced to 15 years of hard labor in North Korea after he was found guilty of attempting to steal a propaganda poster from a hotel in January 2016, died mysteriously in June, Deadline reported. Obama has now issued a statement on the tragic death.
“During the course of the Obama Administration, we had no higher priority than securing the release of Americans detained overseas,” Obama spokesman Ned Price said in the statement. “Their tireless efforts resulted in the release of at least 10 Americans from North Korean custody during the course of the Obama administration.”
“It is painful that Mr. Warmbier was not among them, but our efforts on his behalf never ceased, even in the waning days of the administration," added Price, who also served as the National Security Council spokesman during Obama's presidency. "Our thoughts and prayers are with Mr. Warmbier’s family and all who had the blessing of knowing him.”
Warmbier died just days after being released from North Korea in a coma after spending more than a year in jail. The student's father was critical of Obama during a news conference that took place at the time of his son's release.
The father was asked if he felt Obama could have done more to secure his son's release before President Donald Trump took office.
“The question is, do I think the past administration could have done more?” the father responded. “I think the results speak for themselves.”
Trump said this week that “the results would have been different” had Warmbier been released and brought home sooner, but he did not provide any specific details. “He should have been brought home that day," Trump said.
Warmbier’s cause of death is unknown at this time. He showed no signs of physical violence, and some doctors believe he died from an infection or blood clot, The Inquisitr reported. Other specialists revealed that his death might have had something to do with lack of oxygen reaching his brain.
Trump took to Twitter on June 20 to talk more about Warmbier's death.
"The U.S. once again condemns the brutality of the North Korean regime as we mourn its latest victim," the president tweeted. "While I greatly appreciate the efforts of President Xi & China to help with North Korea, it has not worked out. At least I know China tried!"