Trump's flip-flop on Otto Warmbier’s murder is a 'slap in the face' to his grieving parents: CNN's John King
Otto Frederick Warmbier (C), a University of Virginia student who was detained in North Korea since early January, is taken to North Korea's top court in Pyongyang, North Korea, in this photo released by Kyodo March 16, 2016. Mandatory credit REUTERS/Kyodo

A CNN panel on Thursday highlighted the hypocrisy of President Donald Trump's claim that Kim Jong-un knew nothing about the murder of American college student Otto Warmbier while he was in custody in North Korea's notoriously brutal prisons, leading host John King to accuse the president of slapping Warmbier's grieving parents in the face.

Senior political reporter Nia-Malika Henderson was surprised by the president's change of heart.

"Donald Trump himself said at the State of the Union last year or the year before, the Warmbier family was there, he basically said 'our thoughts and prayers are with you,'" Henderson said, adding that Trump had called out Kim for incarcerating Warmbier. She surmised that the president was trying to flatter the North Korean dictator, in the hopes that letting Kim off the hook would give the U.S. a win on denuclearization.

"That's the pattern you've seen from this president several times," agreed the Washington Post's Seung Min Kim highlighting Trump's worrisome habit of cuddling up to dictators.

"I was looking back at what the president had said about Otto Warmbier," she continued. "Back in 2017, he also called this 'the responsibility of a brutal regime.'"

She said it was unclear why Trump was giving the dictator a pass, but King cut to the chase.

"It's a slap in the face to an American family who lost their son," he said. "That's what it is from the president of the United States."

Watch the video below.