The Washington Post dropped an absolutely blockbuster on Thursday when the paper’s Beijing bureau chief Anna Fifield revealed that North Korea insisted that the United States agree to pay a $2 million medical bill for the care of then-comatose student Otto Warmbier, who had been held been tortured and held prisoner by the Hermit Kingdom.
According to Fifield, the invoice — which has not been previously disclosed — was presented in 2017 to the U.S. envoy who was sent to North Korea to retrieve Warmbier, who had been in a coma since being sentenced to 15 years of hard labor in March 2016 for pulling down a propaganda sign in a hotel. North Korea did not inform America of Warmbier’s condition for over a year, prompting the U.S. to increase its efforts to get the American student home, who died shortly after arriving in the United States.
While it is unknown whether the Trump administration ever paid the bill or if it came up during later summits between the two country’s leaders, Trump has repeatedly insisted that he paid “nothing” to bring American hostages home from North Korea.
Also, during his Hanoi summit with North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un earlier this year, the president said that he believed Kim when he said that he didn’t know anything about the torture Warmbier experienced during his custody in North Korea that resulted in his death, remarks that were pilloried at the time.
As you would imagine, following a report that North Korea demanded millions for taking care of the comatose Warmbier, reporters, journalists and observers once again took aim at the president for that absurd assertion.
Remember that, in Hanoi, President Trump said he believed Kim Jong Un didn't know about Otto Warmbier's death. "He tells me that he didn’t know about it, and I will take him at his word…I don’t believe he would have allowed that to happen." https://t.co/uFoaRpp81P
— Kaitlan Collins (@kaitlancollins) April 25, 2019
Remember Trump saying earlier this year that Kim Jong Un denied having anything to do with torture/death of Kim Jong Un, and he believed him? Check out this wow scoop by @annafifield. North Korea issued a $2 million bill to US for care of Otto Warmbier. https://t.co/Ks07Z7ISEZ
— Josh Dawsey (@jdawsey1) April 25, 2019
The notion, which Trump has perpetuated, that Kim Jon Un didn't know about Otto Warmbier's condition was always absurd. This scoop by @annafifield that North Korea billed the U.S. $2 million for Warmbier's medical care only implicates the NK regime further https://t.co/ri6fm5P7JI
— Shane Harris (@shaneharris) April 25, 2019
Trump in September: “I got the hostages [in North Korea] back for nothing. Obama paid $1.8 billion. You know I got it back for nothing, right?” https://t.co/dOtJThsYd1
— Glenn Kessler (@GlennKesslerWP) April 25, 2019
“He tells me that he didn’t know about it and I will take him at his word.” – President Trump, about the dictator who attempted to extort $2 million from the United States to pay for the “treatment” of Otto Warmbier
— Scott Bixby (@scottbix) April 25, 2019
— Bad Fox Graphics (@BadFoxGraphics) April 25, 2019