President Trump hailed the Warmbier family of Wyoming, Ohio as "powerful witnesses" to North Korea's horrors - as the Warmbier family watched from a guest box in the U.S. House of Representatives.
"You are powerful witnesses to a menace that threatens our world, and your strength inspires us all," Trump planned to say in his prepared remarks, "Tonight, we pledge to honor Otto's memory with American resolve."
Otto Warmbier's parents, Fred and Cindy Warmbier, of Wyoming, Ohio were spotted in the First Lady's guest box as the president entered the House of Representatives chambers. Also in attendance were Otto Warmbier's brother and sister, Austin and Greta.
Warmbier's arrest in North Korea and death gave a face to the struggle between North Korea and the United States.
Trump, in the prepared remarks, described Otto Warmbier as a hardworking student
"After a shameful trial, the dictatorship sentenced Otto to 15 years of hard labor, before returning him to America last June -- horribly injured and on the verge of death," Trump said. "He passed away just days after his return."
Warmbier was a student at the University of Virginia when he paid a Chinese company, Young Pioneer Tours, to visit North Korea's capital, Pyongyang, for five days including New Year's.
North Korea arrested the Wyoming, Ohio native in Jan. 2016 and accused him of stealing a propaganda poster.
He died last year back in Cincinnati in June 2017 after North Korea released him in a comatose state. He never regained consciousness.
Fred and Cindy Warmbier have pushed for a tougher treatment of North Korea. They met earlier in the day with Democratic Maryland Sen. Chris Van Hollen, who is one of the co-sponsors of legislation that would increase sanctions on North Korea.
North Korea has escalated tensions with tests of nuclear weapons and ballistic missiles.
Rhetoric between North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un and Trump has also grown more hostile, including Trump calling Kim "Rocket Man."
Trump on Tuesday called for more nuclear weapons. He called for the United States to have a nuclear arsenal "so strong and powerful that it will deter any acts of aggression."
Here are Trump's full prepared comments on the Warmbiers:
"Past experience has taught us that complacency and concessions only invite aggression and provocation. I will not repeat the mistakes of past administrations that got us into this dangerous position.
We need only look at the depraved character of the North Korean regime to understand the nature of the nuclear threat it could pose to America and our allies.
Otto Warmbier was a hardworking student at the University of Virginia. On his way to study abroad in Asia, Otto joined a tour to North Korea. At its conclusion, this wonderful young man was arrested and charged with crimes against the state. After a shameful trial, the dictatorship sentenced Otto to 15 years of hard labor, before returning him to America last June -- horribly injured and on the verge of death. He passed away just days after his return.