The Blue House’s incompetenceFormer Blue House spokesman Yoon Chang-jung’s alleged sexual assault of an intern during President Park Geun-hye’s trip to Washington has brought shame not only on the presidential office, but also the entire nation. Regarding Yoon’s sudden return to Seoul, senior presidential secretaries were even fighting over the truth. Since the incident last Tuesday, the Blue House’s collective mishandling of the case is now under the spotlight.
The problem begins with the Blue House’s lax sense of contingency despite the grave political and international repercussions from the mishap. The Blue House should have immediately entered crisis management mode. However, they were busy keeping mum until the JoongAng Ilbo reported about it last Friday. In the run-up to the crisis, the Blue House even came up with a strange explanation that Yoon had called Lee Nam-ki, senior presidential secretary for public relations, to inform his sudden return to Seoul for “family matters.”
Another problem is the delay in reporting the incident to the president, as Park wasn’t briefed about it from her staff for 36 hours after it took place - despite some advisers’ apprehension that it could evolve into a diplomatic issue between Seoul and Washington.
The Blue House’s first apology was not appropriate either. Lee Nam-ki read a mere four-sentence apology that offered apologies to neither the victim nor other compatriots in America. The Blue House’s second apology this time by the presidential chief of staff, Huh Tae-yeol, was also disappointing: Half of his statement was filled with praises for the president’s achievements in her first summit with Barack Obama.
The biggest problem is the ongoing incompetence and insensitivity of the Blue House. Even when the controversy over Yoon’s return to Seoul is still brewing, the presidential secretary for civil affairs, Kwak Sang-do, murmured yesterday that a legal aspect of the case was over and spokesman Yoon also resigned. That probably means there will be no additional measure or investigation into the scandal. Does the Blue House want to test our patience?
In fact, these types of mistakes have been repeated over and over under the Park administration. High-ranking officials’ vows not to repeat them have time and again betrayed the people’s confidence. But the buck stops there. Park must figure out what really happened and overhaul her office.