Kellyanne Conway defends Trump comments on Warmbier

Kellyanne ConwayKellyanne Elizabeth ConwayThe Hill's Morning Report - Presented by JUUL Labs - House to vote to condemn Trump tweet George Conway calls Trump a 'racist president' in new op-ed George Conway's group: Trump tweets 'should be rejected by every American' MORE on Friday said President TrumpDonald John TrumpEsper sidesteps question on whether he aligns more with Mattis or Trump Warren embraces Thiel label: 'Good' As tensions escalate, US must intensify pressure on Iran and the IAEA MORE agrees with the parents of Otto Warmbier that North Korea is responsible for their son's death, but reiterated that Trump is taking North Korean leader Kim Jong Un's word that he did not know what happened to the American college student.

Conway offered the remarks on Fox News after Warmbier's parents issued a statement deeply critical of North Korea that said they did not believe his excuse.

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“We have been respectful during this summit process,” Fred and Cindy Warmbier said in the statement, which was not issued until after Trump returned to the United States. “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.

Conway said Trump agrees with the Warmbiers and "holds North Korea responsible for Otto Warmbier’s death.”

“This president is responsible for having Otto Warmbier returned to this country and be reunited with his family in his final hours," Conway told Fox News.  

“What the president is talking about [is] that Chairman Kim did not know what happened to Otto at the time of when it happened,” she added. 

A number of U.S. lawmakers have criticized Trump's comments, saying he should not have accepted Kim's denial of involvement in Warmbier's death.

Warmbier, a University of Virginia student, was arrested in 2016 for stealing a propaganda poster in North Korea. He was returned to the U.S. in 2017 in a comatose state and later died at the age of 22. 

“He tells me he didn’t know about it, and I take him at his word,” Trump said of Kim at a Thursday press conference.