Disqualified by ‘murderers’ comment

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Disqualified by ‘murderers’ comment

 Presidential Chief of Staff Noh Young-min said during the National Assembly’s audit of the Blue House on Wednesday that the organizers of the Aug. 15 antigovernment rallies were “murderers.”

After Rep. Park Dae-chul of the People Power Party showed a photo of the police using buses to contain the protesters and complained about the move, Noh angrily countered him. “Now a lawmaker can defend illegal rallies?” Noh asked. “More than 600 people were infected by Covid-19 at the unauthorized rallies on Aug. 15, and seven of them died.”

Noh reportedly used the term “murderers” twice to criticize the organizers in a shouting match after Park’s accusation that “the police had locked up the people in a Covid-19 cluster during their crackdown.”

This is an unimaginably vulgar and high-handed remark to be said by the presidential chief of staff. Two hours later, Noh admitted he had gone too far. A presidential chief of staff who uses that language in a National Assembly session is undeniably unqualified to serve the post.

Critics of the administration are also the people of this country, but Noh treated them as if the rally organizers were enemies. Is it justifiable to label the critics “murderers?” This is a typical factionalism-based political strategy of this administration that you are either friends or foes.

We are worried that Noh’s remark represents the group thinking of the Blue House. If the members of the Blue House are talking about state affairs every day based on such a belief, this is extremely worrisome.

Before making the “murderers” comment, Noh argued that the illegal rallies had contributed to the 0.5-percent drop in Korea’s economic growth rate. He seemed to blame the rallies for failed economic policy, in addition to the infections.

The Moon Jae-in administration is not capable of engaging its critics. Although Moon stressed the importance of cooperative politics, it was never realized.

Noh’s “murderers” comment candidly showed this administration’s perception of its political opponents.

Since Moon took office, the ideological and political rift in society has grown deeper than ever. Unless the Blue House’s perception changes, the rift will grow further.

If the Blue House is reshuffled as well as the cabinet in the coming months, Moon must hire a new presidential chief of staff who is more dignified and thoughtful.

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