Going against public sentiment

Home > Opinion > Editorials

print dictionary print

Going against public sentiment

The way President Yoon Suk-yeol responded to criticisms of his appointment style is disappointing. In an interview with reporters at the doorstep of his office in Yongsan, he simply brushed them off. When reporters raised issue with his nominations of Song Ok-rial as new antitrust chief, Park Soon-ae as education minister and Kim Seung-hee as health and welfare minister, the president rebutted by asking, “Did you see any competent ministers in the previous administration?” Yoon asked the reporters to “compare my nominees with those in the past administration.” The president showed displeasure about such questions from journalists. Earlier, he was proud of “selecting candidates for ministers without errors.”

The public wants to hear candid explanations by the president about a series of suspicious nominations and his push for appointments regardless. If a head of state ignores such questions and reacts with rough rhetoric — for instance, “They are still better than those in the previous administration” — he goes too far.

Heads of state are required to have the ability to judge things in a balanced way and change course if needed. In a Gallup Korea poll released last week, 43 percent approved of Yoon’s performance as president, while 42 percent disapproved. But the biggest factor for negative views toward Yoon was his “appointments of inappropriate figures” (18 percent) followed by his “unilateral approach to national affairs” (seven percent) and “work attitude” (four percent). Yoon showed that image to the reporters at the doorstep of his office. If he really respects public sentiment, he should humbly accept it instead of raising his voice before journalists.

Another controversy involves what the president said when he gave Park Soon-ae the certificate of appointment as education minister despite her past record of drunk driving and plagiarism. Yoon comforted her for the attacks from the press and opposition parties. Regardless of her apparent disqualification as education minister, the president blamed the media. Former president Moon Jae-in used to say, “It was far worse in the conservative administrations.” What difference is there between Moon and Yoon?

On Monday, President Yoon dismissed the significance of approval rating. If he continues to shrug off the public’s concerns — and if that helps widen the gap between them — people have to lower their expectations for Yoon.
Log in to Twitter or Facebook account to connect
with the Korea JoongAng Daily
help-image Social comment?
lock icon

To write comments, please log in to one of the accounts.

Standards Board Policy (0/250자)