President Donald Trump denied giving North Korea any money in exchange for bringing home American college student Otto Warmbier on Friday.
A Thursday report from The Washington Post claimed that North Korea returned Warmbier to the United States under the condition that the regime be paid back for $2 million in medical expenses. Anonymous sources told the Post that a U.S. envoy sent to bring Warmbier home was under direct orders from Trump to sign the invoice. (RELATED: Report: North Korea Demanded $2 Million For Tortured Americans Health Care)
The report did not indicate if the U.S. actually ended up paying the $2 million, and Trump denied doing so in a tweet Friday.
“No money was paid to North Korea for Otto Warmbier, not two Million Dollars, not anything else,” Trump wrote.
The president also took a shot at the Obama administration for its hostage deals with Iran. The U.S. sent $400 million in payment to Iran in January 2016 around the same time that four hostages were released. Shortly after the first shipment of money, the U.S. gave Iran another $1.3 billion, but the Obama administration contended that the money was all a part of an old failed arms deal.
“This is not the Obama administration that paid $1.8 billion Dollars for four hostages, or gave five terroist [sic] hostages plus, who soon went back to battle, for traitor Sgt. Bergdahl,” Trump added.
No money was paid to North Korea for Otto Warmbier, not two Million Dollars, not anything else. This is not the Obama Administration that paid 1.8 Billion Dollars for four hostages, or gave five terroist hostages plus, who soon went back to battle, for traitor Sgt. Bergdahl!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) April 26, 2019
Trump has previously claimed that his administration will never exchange money for American hostages.
Warmbier was on a trip to North Korea in January 2016 when he was accused of stealing a propaganda poster and sentenced to 15 years of hard labor. The Trump administration was able to secure Warmbier’s release in June 2017, however, the University of Virginia student was comatose and showed signs of severe physical abuse. He died a week after returning home.
White House press secretary Sarah Sanders also responded to the Post’s report on Thursday, stating, “We do not comment on hostage negotiations, which is why they have been so successful during this administration.”