MSNBC’s Joe Scarborough excoriated President Donald Trump in a fiery Friday monologue, stunned by his support for North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un’s claim that he was not responsible for the brutal death of U.S. college student Otto Warmbier.
“Kim Jong Un was a murderer,” Scarborough said during his “Morning Joe” broadcast. “Nothing happens in that country that he doesn’t order. He is a tyrant of the first order and there is no way anybody would lay a hand on an American in North Korea unless Kim Jong Un was delivering the direct orders.”
Wrapping up his Hanoi, Vietnam, summit with Kim on Thursday, Trump said the ruler told him “he didn’t know about it, and I will take him at his word.” Instead, the president appeared to blame Warmbier’s fatal injuries on rough prisons.
Furthering his criticism of Trump and his behavior, Scarborough said the president “once again embraced tyranny” and “appeased yet another dictator.”
“It seems that again, Donald Trump just hasn’t met a tyrant he doesn’t love, he doesn’t respect, he doesn’t believe over American intel officials,” he said.
The president’s statements on Warmbier’s 2017 death came on the three-year anniversary of the student’s public plea for freedom. Once he’d finally been returned to the U.S. following several months trapped in North Korea, Warmbier was in a vegetative state and died shortly after.
Trump’s trust in Kim has sparked bipartisan shock and outrage, echoing Trump’s backing of Russian President Vladimir Putin’s claims of innocence in election meddling and Saudi Arabia Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman’s claims of no involvement in the grisly murder of Washington Post journalist Jamal Khashoggi.
The president took both Putin and the crown prince at their word despite U.S. intelligence findings directly contradicting their statements.