• June 16, 2024

Haley to launch ad targeting Trump’s handling of North Korea relationship and hostage Otto Warmbier

Former South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley’s presidential campaign is releasing a three-minute television ad on the eve of the New Hampshire primary slamming former President Donald Trump over his handling of the U.S. relationship with North Korea and hostage Otto Warmbier. The ad features the testimony of Warmbier’s mother, Cindy Warmbier.

American college student Otto Warmbier was taken  hostage by North Korea in 2016. After a lengthy and arduous negotiation between the regime and the U.S., Warmbier was released after falling into a vegetative state, and died soon after his release.

The ad features the speech Warmbier’s mother gave when Haley launched her campaign in February 2023.

“When we were begging the Obama administration for help, they told us to be quiet and be patient,” Warmbier says in the ad. “Nikki told us the opposite. She told me it’s okay to be afraid, like I am now, but I had to push through the fear.”

Warmbier’s mother goes on to praise Haley, who was the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations in the Trump administration when negotiations for her son’s release were taking place, and thank her for her support through the negotiation process.

“I will tell you about her strength, her compassion, and her belief that every human being is worth fighting for,” Cindy Warmbier says in the ad. “I will tell you that Nikki didn’t help me because it was her job. She did it as a mom, a friend, and a fighter who made my fight her own.”

Haley’s presidential campaign is featuring the grieving mother’s story in order to remind voters of Trump’s “friendly” approach to North Korean leader Kim Jong Un.

“Donald Trump played an important role in bringing Otto’s body home and holding North Korea accountable, but he switched his tune when he “fell in love” with North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un,” Haley’s presidential campaign said in a statement.

In 2019, Trump said he didn’t blame Kim for Otto Warmbier’s death, a comment that prompted outrage.

“Some really bad things happened to Otto, some really, really bad things. But [Kim] tells me that he didn’t know about it, and I will take him at his word.”

The ad’s release represents yet another attack on Trump as Haley fights to close the gap for New Hampshire’s primary and goes directly after Trump in what she calls a “two-person race.”

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