The parents of Otto Warmbier, Fred and Cindy Warmbier, will have dinner at the White House on Saturday night with President Donald Trump and Richard Grenell, the US ambassador to Germany, according to two administration sources.
Otto Warmbier was an American college student who was held prisoner for 17 months by Pyongyang and died shortly after he was returned home in a comatose state in 2017.
It’s unclear how Saturday’s dinner was planned and whether anyone else will join them. A spokesman for the National Security Council did not provide a comment.
Grenell has been in Washington for the last few days and is one of the many contenders eyeing the national security adviser job, the sources say. But this dinner was planned before John Bolton was fired earlier this week.
Grenell met with the Warmbiers when they visited Germany in August. He posted a photo of himself with Cindy Warmbier and his own mother on Instagram.
“Today I introduced Otto Warmbier’s mother Cindy to my mom, Judi. Cindy is focused on bringing some justice to her family - and we are ready to help,” Grenell wrote in his caption for the photo.
After a second summit with Kim Jong Un in Hanoi, Vietnam, earlier this year, Trump said he does not hold the North Korean dictator responsible for Warmbier’s death.
The Warmbiers rejected Trump’s remark.
“We have been respectful during this summit process. 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. Thank you,” the Warmbiers said in a statement at the time.
Earlier this week Trump criticized Bolton for earlier comments he had made regarding North Korean denuclearization that angered Kim Jong Un.
“He’s using that to make a deal with North Korea? And I don’t blame Kim Jong Un for what he said after that, and he wanted nothing to do with John Bolton. And that’s not a question of being tough. That’s a question of being not smart to say something like that,” Trump said.