National Security Advisor John Bolton said Sunday that North Korea should should provide a full explanation of Otto Warmbier's detainment and coma in the nation before dying in the United States. File photo by Alex Edelman/UPI | License Photo
March 3 (UPI) -- President Donald Trump's national security adviser John Bolton said Sunday that North Korea should should provide a full explanation of Otto Warmbier's detainment and death.
Appearing on CNN's State of the Union, Bolton called for North Korea to describe the circumstances surrounding the death of Warmbier, a U.S. student who traveled to North Korea in 2015 where he was arrested and sentenced to 15 years in prison after he tried to take a propaganda poster from his hotel and died after being returned to the United States while in a coma in 2017.
"The best thing North Korea could do right now would be to give us a full accounting of what happened and who was responsible for it," said Bolton.
Bolton's comments came after Trump said North Korean leader Kim Jong Un told him he "felt very badly" about Warmbier's death and that he took Kim "at his word" that he wasn't aware of the incident, which drew ire from Wambier's parents and some Republican lawmakers.
When asked if he shared Trump's stance on Kim's statements, Bolton reiterated that "the president takes him at his word."
"My opinion doesn't matter," Bolton added. "I am not the national security decision-maker. That's his view."
House Republican Leader Kevin McCarthy directly opposed Trump's viewpoint in an interview on ABC News' This Week, saying he believes Kim was aware of Warmbier's arrest.
"I think Kim had all authority to do that. I mean, I think Kim knew what happened, which was wrong," he said.
McCarthy added that the United States left sanctions against North Korea that were named after Warmbier in place.
"That's why when we passed sanctions, we named it after Otto Warmbier, that's why the president kept those sanctions in place. The sanctions the president did not lift on North Korea are named after Otto and I think the president clarified that," he said.
In response to the criticism Trump received, Bolton told CBS News' Face The Nation that he's discussed Warmbier's death with the president on multiple occasions.
"I've heard the president talk about Otto Warmbier on any number of occasions in the Oval Office. And I know how strongly he feels about it. I have no doubt of that whatever," he said.
Bolton said however that he only gives his advice and opinions to and ultimately Trump "makes up his own mind. That's why he's president."