Father of North Korean Hostage Criticizes Obama, MSNBC Says He’s Not ‘Politically Sophisticated’

During a 10 a.m. press conference on Thursday, Fred Warmbier, the father of freed North Korean hostage Otto Warmbier, thanked the Trump administration for aiding in the release of his son while voicing his displease with the Obama administration’s handling of the situation. In the coverage on MSNBC that followed, Warmbier’s comments were dismissed as “rhetoric” from “someone who isn’t necessarily politically sophisticated.”

Warmbier began by telling reporters: “When Otto was first taken, we were advised by the past administration to take a low profile, while they worked to obtain his release. We did so without result. Earlier this year, Cindy and I decided the time for strategic patience was over...” He added: “It is my understanding Ambassador Yun and his team, at the direction of the President, aggressively pursued resolution of the situation. They have our thanks for bringing Otto home.”

As he took questions minutes later, one reporter asked: “You thanked President Trump and you also said that the past administration didn’t do enough. So do you feel like then-President Obama should have been doing more to help?” Warmbier replied: “I think the results speak for themselves.”

Reacting to the press conference later in the hour, correspondent Hans Nichols worried:

...what struck me is the parallels between his rhetoric, Fred Warmbier’s, and the rhetoric of the Trump administration. The Trump administration has talked about the end of strategic patience being over....You heard Fred Warmbier make a similar comment....And at several times he went out of his way to directly credit President Trump as well as Secretary of State Rex Tillerson with the release of his son.

The reporter was also concerned that Warmbier “walked right up towards criticizing the Obama administration.” Nichols even admonished his media colleagues for asking about such criticism: “...we're living in incredibly partisan times, and I think at some point some of the reporters there were trying to egg on someone who isn’t necessarily politically sophisticated.”

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As result, Nichols advised viewers: “I wouldn’t make too much into sort of him crediting one administration and not another.”    

The liberal so-called “journalists” at MSNBC instinctively believe it is unseemly to say a single bad word about Barack Obama – even if you’re a parent whose child was held captive by an enemy of the United States for a year on the former president’s watch.

Here are excerpts of Warmbier’s June 15 comments and the reaction from Nichols:

10:03 AM ET

(...)

FRED WARMBIER: When Otto was first taken, we were advised by the past administration to take a low profile, while they worked to obtain his release. We did so without result. Earlier this year, Cindy and I decided the time for strategic patience was over, and we made a few media appearances and traveled to Washington to meet with Ambassador Joe Yun at the State Department. It is my understanding Ambassador Yun and his team, at the direction of the President, aggressively pursued resolution of the situation. They have our thanks for bringing Otto home.

(...)

10:07 AM

UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: You thanked President Trump and you also said that the past administration didn’t do enough. So do you feel like then-President Obama should have been doing more to help?

WARMBIER: The question is, do I think the past administration could have done more? I think the results speak for themselves.

(...)

10:09 AM

WARMBIER: We’ve been to Washington, D.C. over a dozen times. We met everyone in the past administration from John Kerry to the Swedish Ambassador Stiernlof, who lives in Pyongyang. He came in town, we met his aide when he came in town. We’ve met our senators, our congressmen. We’ve worked with Governor Richardson. So we were, those were our efforts, and we relied on this false premise that they would treat Otto fairly and let him go.

And we – Otto was held as a war criminal. They termed his confinement as a war criminal. And so that seemed to get Cindy and I’s attention. And so we knew the dynamic was changing and honestly nothing was happening in our world for Otto. No communication, no letters, nothing. So we did what we could. We tried to stay low. We were advised that it was important that you don’t upset the North Koreans, and so, we followed that logic. And then at this – there came a time where it’s – we’re tired – that doesn't seem to have any impact. So we went public with an interview on The Tucker Carlson Show and then did a couple written pieces and then very quickly we have Otto home.

UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: Ever a face-to-face with President Obama?

WARMBIER: Oh, never, never. Absolutely not, no.

(...)

10:26 AM

HALLIE JACKSON: I want to go now to Hans Nichols, who is at the White House here. And, Hans, when you look at the political fallout of this, you saw Fred Warmbier avoid that question he was asked about the prior administration, who he said advised him to lay low after his son was taken by the North Koreans. Fred Warmbier said today the results there speak for themselves. Clearly frustrated, fed up, to say the least, with North Korea, feeling like essentially all bets are off when it comes to talking about what he called a terroristic regime.

HANS NICHOLS: Hallie, what struck me is the parallels between his rhetoric, Fred Warmbier’s, and the rhetoric of the Trump administration. The Trump administration has talked about the end of strategic patience being over, that’s more in regards to their missile program and their nuclear weapons program. You heard Fred Warmbier make a similar comment, saying that when the new administration came in, they decided that strategic patience was over, they would work collaboratively and closely with the new administration. And at several times he went out of his way to directly credit President Trump as well as Secretary of State Rex Tillerson with the release of his son.

Now he walked right up towards criticizing the Obama administration. He didn’t quite do it. He said, “I’ll let the results speak for themselves.” As we know, yesterday being an exception, we're living in incredibly partisan times, and I think at some point some of the reporters there were trying to egg on someone who isn’t necessarily politically sophisticated. He said he doesn’t work in the government, he doesn’t speak for the government. So I wouldn’t make too much into sort of him crediting one administration and not another.

(...)

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