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Otto Warmbier, American Prisoner Held in North Korea Dies
22-year old Otto Warmbier passed away on Monday morning, just 6 days after being released from North Korea, where he was being held captive. Warmbier was visiting North Korea as a tourist in January of 2016 when he was captured. He was accused of taking a propaganda poster from the hotel lobby where he was staying.
While the extent of what Warmbier endured in the North Korean camps are unknown, he did suffer severe brain damage, with doctors reporting that he had “extensive loss of brain tissue,” and reported on his condition as a “state of unresponsive wakefulness.”
President Trump and First Lady Melania Trump both sent their condolences to the family of Otto Warmbier, stating “there is nothing more tragic for a parent than to lose a child in the prime of life.” He proceeded to condemn the brutality of the regime, declaring “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.”
The United States is currently weighing their options with how to handle this situation. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson hinted that the United States will “hold North Korea accountable.” The Trump Administration has taken great concern over this issue, and lawmakers are looking for a “powerful and unmistakable response.”
The VCRP’s thoughts and prayers are with the Warmbier family during this difficult time.
Republican Victories in Special Elections
Reaffirm President Trump's Agenda
GOP officials were more than relieved with the results of the special election earlier this week. Karen Handel defeated Jon Ossoff in Georgia’s runoff election Tuesday night. Also on Tuesday night, Republican Ralph Norman defeated Democrat Archie Parnell in South Carolina by a narrow margin of a little more than 3 percentage points.
With the GOP’s 4-0 contested special election record, Capitol Hill Republicans will have a better chance of passing their Obamacare repeal-and-replace bill and a major tax reform in addition to other top priorities.
“It certainly boosts Republican morale,” said Congressman Tom Cole. Not only does it boost morale, but these victories are proof that Democrats do not have a winning platform. The White House views these victories as confirmation of voters’ confidence in the GOP’s policies and agenda.
Sarah Huckabee Sanders, a White House spokeswoman, said on Fox and Friends this Wednesday, “ Frankly, I think Republicans are going to get tired of winning at some point if the Democrats don’t ever get an agenda.” But will the Republicans ever get tired of winning?
President Trump Meets with IOC Officials
Supporting Los Angeles Olympic Bid
Yesterday morning, President Trump met with International Olympic Committee President Thomas Bach and three other members to discuss the possibility of Los Angeles hosting the Summer Olympics. Los Angeles and Paris are the only 2 remaining cities bidding to be the host city in 2024. The IOC has suggested the idea that one will host the games in 2024, and the other will host one in 2028.
The United States has not hosted a Summer Olympics since 1996 in Atlanta. The last Winter Olympics took place in Salt Lake City in 2002. A White House official described the meeting as a “very constructive conversation,” with Los Angeles looking to host the Summer Olympics for the first time, the others being in 1932 and 1984.
Mayor Eric Garcetti of Los Angeles said that he discussed the possibility with then-president elect Trump back in November, in which Trump pledged to back the bidding process for the 2024 Summer Games.