Schumer demands Trump apologize to Otto Warmbier's parents

Schumer demands Trump apologize to Otto Warmbier's parents

Senate Minority Leader Charles SchumerCharles (Chuck) Ellis SchumerTop Democrats demand security assessment of Trump properties Lawmakers pay tribute to late Justice Stevens Trump administration denies temporary immigrant status to Venezuelans in US MORE (D-N.Y.) is urging President TrumpDonald John TrumpCould Donald Trump and Boris Johnson be this generation's Reagan-Thatcher? Merkel backs Democratic congresswomen over Trump How China's currency manipulation cheats America on trade MORE to apologize to Otto Warmbier's parents for his defense of North Korean leader Kim Jong Un’s role in the death of the American college student.

Schumer, in a tweet on Friday, argued that by deciding to believe Kim about Warmbier's death, Trump is "once again simply deciding to take a cruel and brutal dictator at his word."

"He owes Otto Warmbier’s parents an apology. Now," Schumer added.

Trump sparked bipartisan backlash among lawmakers this week when he appeared to accept Kim's denial of any involvement in the harsh treatment that led to Warmbier's death during a summit in Vietnam this week.

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“He tells me that he didn’t know about it and I will take him at his word,” Trump said at a news conference following a summit.

Trump added that he spoke to Kim about Warmbier but does not believe the leader would have permitted the detainee to be mistreated because it “wasn’t to his advantage.”

Warmbier was sentenced to 15 years of hard labor for allegedly attempting to steal a propaganda poster during a January 2016 visit to Pyongyang. He died roughly 17 months later after he was sent back to the U.S. in a coma.

Warmbier's parents released a statement on Friday saying Kim is responsible for their son's death. 

“We have been respectful during this summit process,” Fred and Cindy Warmbier said in the statement. “Now we must speak out.”

“Kim and his evil regime are responsible for the death of our son Otto. Kim and his evil regime are responsible for unimaginable cruelty and inhumanity. No excuses or lavish praise can change that,” they said.

Trump previously came under criticism for a summit with Russian President Vladimir Putin last year where the president said he believed Putin's claim that Russia did not interfere in the 2016 presidential election, contradicting findings from the U.S. intelligence community. In the wake of the Helsinki summit, Schumer told reporters that Trump's comments would make Americans wonder if Putin "holds damaging information" over Trump.