December 27, 2021 13:31
The wife of People Power Party presidential candidate Yoon Suk-yeol apologized to the public on Sunday for revelations that she lied on her resume, which has damaged her husband hugely in the polls.
"I'm responsible for everything and it was due to my negligence," Kim Keon-hee told reporters at PPP headquarters in Seoul. "I made mistakes while pursuing my studies and working at the same time. I exaggerated my credentials to look more appealing and even wrote wrong information."
"I sincerely apologize to the public," Kim added. This was the first time she appeared in public since Yoon announced his presidential bid.
"If I could disappear so that my husband could be evaluated based on what he is, I would do that," Kim said. "I am infinitely lacking compared to my husband. I am so embarrassed about my errors before my husband, whom I love and respect."
"You may chide me, but I implore you not to give up your support for my husband, who has walked a very difficult and arduous path," she added.
She promised to remain behind the scenes. "I will spend the remainder of the campaign season quietly reflecting on my actions and focus on being a wife even if my husband becomes president."
In the seven-minute statement, she also revealed that she suffered a miscarriage while her husband was busy leading an investigation in 2013 of alleged attempts by the National Intelligence Service to help then main ruling candidate Park Geun-hye win the presidential election by ordering agents to write messages on the Internet denouncing opposition candidates.
Yoon himself had already made a vague apology on Dec. 17 for his wife "causing concerns." But he did not say exactly what she did wrong, and his approval ratings plummeted further.
This was particularly damaging since Yoon has been presenting himself as the "Mr. Clean" of Korean politics since resigning as prosecutor-general under massive pressure from the government as a corruption probe he led got uncomfortably close to President Moon Jae-in's inner circle.
"There was internal consensus that an apology cannot be delayed as Yoon continued to suffer declining ratings," a party insider said.
Speaking with reporters after the press conference, Yoon said, "My wife apologized to the public and I feel the same way."
Kim also issued a 14-page statement through the election campaign office clarifying her position, saying seven out of 11 points on her resume that had been flagged for falsehood were only "exaggerated," "inappropriate" or "erroneous" but not outright lies.
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