Barack Obama defended his administration Tuesday against charges from President Trump that it did not do enough to secure the release of an American student jailed in North Korea.
“During the course of the Obama administration, we had no higher priority than securing the release of Americans detained overseas,” Obama spokesman Ned Price said in a statement, according to Deadline.com.
“Their tireless efforts resulted in the release of at least 10 Americans from North Korean custody during the course of the Obama administration,” he added.
“It is painful that Mr. (Otto) Warmbier was not among them but our efforts on his behalf never ceased, even in the waning days of the administration,” said Price, who was Obama’s National Security Council spokesman.
Trump on Tuesday called the death of the 22-year-old Warmbier — who was returned comatose to the US last week after 18 months in captivity – a “total disgrace.”
The president took aim at Obama for not securing the University of Virginia student.
“It should never, ever be allowed to happen. And frankly, if he were brought home sooner, I think the results would have been a lot different,” Trump told reporters at the White House.
Warmbier’s father, Fred, has praised Trump for helping secure his son’s release.
Asked a few days ago whether he felt the Obama administration had not done enough to help his family, Warmbier said, “I think the results speak for themselves,” the Washington Post reported.