by Saagar Enjeti
Secretary of Defense James Mattis expressed anger at the death of recently released North Korean prisoner Otto Warmbier at a Wednesday appearance with Secretary of State Rex Tillerson.
“There is no way we can look at a situation like this with any kind of understanding. This goes beyond any kind of understanding of law and order, of humanity, of responsibility towards any human being,” Mattis declared.
President Donald Trump also angrily protested Warmbier’s death Tuesday, calling his death a “disgrace” and claiming that Warmbier “should have been brought home that same day. The results would have been a lot different.”
“He should have been brought home a long time ago,” he added.
Mattis explained Trump’s protestations as “seeing the American people’s frustration with a regime that provokes, and provokes, and provokes, and basically plays outside the rules, plays fast and loose with the truth.”
The world found out Warmbier was in a coma when he was released June 13 after nearly 17 months of detention. Warmbier allegedly stole some North Korean propaganda during a tourist visit and was detained for “hostile actions against the state” when he tried to leave the country. The circumstances of Warmbier’s death are unclear but his family has stated he was “brutalized” by the “pariah state” of North Korea.
Mattis appeared to concur with the Warmbier family saying “we see a young man go over there healthy and with a minor act of mischief come home dead … basically … die shortly, immediately after he gets here.”
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