The parents of late University student Otto Warmbier had dinner with President Donald Trump at the White House Saturday evening, according to reports. U.S. Ambassador to Germany Richard Grenell was also slated to attend the dinner. It is unclear who else was in attendance or when the dinner was planned.
Otto Warmbier was imprisoned in Pyongyang in January 2016 as a third-year Commerce student on a tour of North Korea. Warmbier spent 17 months in captivity before he was released by the North Korean government in a comatose state and died six days after returning to Cincinnati, Ohio. In April 2018, Warmbier’s parents, Fred and Cindy Warmbier, filed a lawsuit against North Korea for the “hostage taking, illegal detention, torture and killing” of their son.
In December 2018, a federal judge ruled that North Korea must pay over $500 million in damages to the Warmbier family. In her ruling, Chief Judge Beryl A. Howell of the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia wrote that “there is overwhelming evidence that North Korea’s barbaric acts were a substantial factor in causing Otto’s death.”
Warmbier’s parents spoke out against remarks President Trump made at a second summit with Kim Jong Un in Hanoi, Vietnam in February. In a press conference statement, Trump said he did not believe the North Korean leader was responsible for Warmbier’s death.
“Kim and his evil regime are responsible for the death of our son Otto,” Warmbier’s parents said in a public statement. “Kim and his evil regime are responsible for unimaginable cruelty and inhumanity. No excuses or lavish praise can change that.”
U.S. ambassador to Germany Richard Grenell met with Fred and Cindy Warmbier when the couple was in Germany this August. Grenell expressed his support for the Warmbiers’ pursuit of justice for their son on his Instagram account after their meeting.
Grenell is a possible contender to replace John Bolton as Trump’s national security advisor, after Trump fired Bolton last week.
No reports yet indicate what occurred at the dinner Saturday.