“He tells me he didn’t know about it, and I take him at his word,” Trump said.
The president’s comments drew criticism from both Republicans and Democrats.
“There is something wrong with (Russian President Vladimir) Putin, Kim Jong Un – in my view, thugs – that the president chooses to believe,” House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-California, told reporters Thursday.
Sen. Rob Portman, R-Ohio, questioned Kim’s ignorance of the situation while speaking Thursday on the House floor.
"Who did the North Korean government tell about the fact that he had this brain damage? No one. Unbelievable," Portman said, according to WHIO-TV. "We can't be naive about what they did to Otto, about the brutal nature of the regime that would do this to an American citizen."