*Dennis Rodman says he is partially responsible for the release of American college student Otto Warmbier from a North Korea prison, a claim that goes against the State Department’s declaration last week that Rodman had nothing to do with Warmbier’s release.
During an appearance on “Good Morning America” Friday, the former NBA star and his agent said Rodman’s visit played a significant role in Warmbier being set free. He died last Monday just days after being medically evacuated from a North Korean prison.
“I was just so happy to see the kid released,” Rodman told “GMA” co-anchor Michael Strahan. “Later that day, that’s when we found out he was ill, no one knew that. We jumped up and down … Some good things came of this trip.”
Warmbier was released same day Rodman arrived in North Korea; he was returned to the U.S. in a state of unresponsive wakefulness, after spending 17 months in prison, for allegedly trying to steal a propaganda poster while visiting the country on a sightseeing tour.
A Department of State spokesperson has said that Rodman had nothing to do with Warmbier’s release, and Warmbier’s father said in a statement to ABC News “Dennis Rodman had nothing to do with Otto returning to the United States.”
But Chris Volo, Rodman’s agent, told Strahan, “I know being there had something to do with it…Because when I was organizing the trip … and I met with the delegates here, you know, I addressed … Otto Warmbier. And I said to them, we would need some type of good faith if we’re ever going to do some kind of future sports relations. So I asked three times…before we went, I asked on behalf of Dennis for his release. …And they said they understood, and that was all that was said in that meeting.”
Rodman, meanwhile, described the country’s dictator Kim Jong-Un as “a friendly guy.”
“We sing karaoke,” Rodman added of their relationship. “It’s all fun. Ride horses, everything.”
“It’s the politics that’s the bad thing,” Rodman conceded. “If we can try to figure something out, just open the door,” Rodman suggested, saying that he believes “if Donald Trump had a chance,” he would fly to North Korea to “make peace.”
“Donald, come talk to me. Let’s try to work this out,” said Rodman, who starred in two seasons of “Celebrity Apprentice.”
“Because you know what? I get nothing out of this. The only thing I get is out of pride for my country, America. I love America,” Rodman said. “But I want these two sides to get together and try to figure something out. Some dialogue. That’s it.”
Watch Rodman’s “GMA” interview below: