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FILE - In this March 16, 2016, file photo, American student Otto Warmbier, center, is escorted at the Supreme Court in Pyongyang, North Korea. North Korea announced Warmbier's detention Jan. 22, 2016, and the University of Virginia student from suburban Cincinnati was sentenced in March 2016 to 15 years in prison at hard labor after a televised confession that he tried to steal a propaganda banner. As President Donald Trump's administration takes office one year later, there's been little public word about what has happened to Warmbier. (AP Photo/Jon Chol Jin, File)

Trump called Otto Warmbier's death a 'disgrace' and said he should have come home long ago



UPDATE 2:58 p.m. EST:

President Trump called the circumstances surrounding Otto Warmbier's death a "disgrace" and suggested he might still be alive if he had returned to the U.S. from North Korea sooner.

"He should have been brought home that same day," Trump said. "The results would have been a lot different."

"He should have been brought home a long time ago."

ORIGINAL STORY:  Lawmakers had harsh words for North Korea after Otto Warmbier -- medically evacuated from the hermit kingdom just days ago -- died Monday at 22.

"Let us state the facts plainly: Otto Warmbier, an American citizen, was murdered by the Kim Jong-un regime," Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) said in a statement. "In the final year of his life, he lived the nightmare in which the North Korean people have been trapped for 70 years: forced labor, mass starvation, systematic cruelty, torture, and murder."

Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) also accused North Korea of murdering Warmbier.

Sen. Ben Cardin (D-MD) offered harsh words of his own.

“Otto is dead because of Kim Jong-un’s repressive, murderous regime,” Cardin said in a statement, adding that North Korea “must be held accountable for their continued barbaric behavior.”

Warmbier, a University of Virginia student, was sentenced to 15 years of hard labor in March 2016 after being found guilty in a North Korean court of stealing a propaganda poster.  

North Korea said Warmbier contracted botulism shortly after his sentencing, took a sleeping pill, and fell into a into a coma. 

When Warmbier returned to the U.S., doctors estimated that he had been in a coma for nearly a year.

They described Warmbier's condition as a state of "unresponsive wakefulness" and said he suffered a "severe neurological injury" of unknown causes.

Warmbier's father, Fred Warmbier, accused North Korea of abusing his son and said its "awful torturous mistreatment" led to his death.

President Trump reacts to the death of Otto Warmbier

WATCH | President Trump reacts to Warmbier's death.

President Trump condemned North Korea's "brutality" in a statement

“Otto’s fate deepens my Administration’s determination to prevent such tragedies from befalling innocent people at the hands of regimes that do not respect the rule of law or basic human decency," Trump said. "The United States once again condemns the brutality of the North Korean regime as we mourn its latest victim.”

Lawmakers from Ohio, where Warmbier was raised, expressed their deepest condolences.

“Otto’s passing is a tragic loss," said Rep. Marcia Fudge (D-OH). "On behalf of the 11th Congressional District, I send my condolences to the Warmbier family, and ask us all to keep them in our thoughts and prayers.”

Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-OH) said "our hearts are broken" over Warmbier's death.

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