U.S. second gentleman Emhoff chosen to lead delegation to Yoon’s inauguration
WASHINGTON-- Douglas Emhoff, the husband of U.S. Vice President Kamala Harris, has been appointed to lead a presidential delegation to the May 10 inauguration ceremony of incoming President Yoon Suk-yeol, the White House announced Wednesday.
The eight-member delegation will also include Secretary of Labor Martin Walsh; Reps. Ami Bera (D-CA) and Marilyn Strickland (D-WA); Assistant Attorney General Todd Sunhwae Kim; Special Assistant to the President for Economic Agency Personnel Linda Hee Jung Shim; Christopher Del Corso, charge d'affaires ad interim at the U.S. Embassy in Seoul; and author Min Jin Lee, according to a White House statement.
Strickland, Kim, Shim and Lee are Korean American.
The second gentleman was likely chosen to head the delegation in consideration of the schedules of other senior officials, with Secretary of State Antony Blinken and National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan expected to accompany President Joe Biden on his May 20-22 visit to Seoul.
Rep. Bera currently serves as chairman of the House Subcommittee on Asia, the Pacific, Central Asia and Nonproliferation, and co-chair of the Congressional Caucus on Korea.
Rep. Strickland was born to a Korean mother and has actively participated in bills calling for a declaration to formally end the 1950-53 Korean War and reunions between Korean Americans and their family members in North Korea.
Lee is the author of the bestseller novel "Pachinko."
In 2013, then White House National Security Adviser Tom Donilon served as the chief delegate to the inauguration of Park Geun-hye. Five years earlier, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice was present at the inauguration of Lee Myung-bak.
In 2003, then Secretary of State Colin Powell headed a presidential delegation to the inauguration of Roh Moo-hyun.
The U.S. did not send a separate delegation from Washington to the inauguration of Moon Jae-in in 2017 as the ceremony was held a day after his victory in a snap election resulting from the impeachment of Park.
Source: Yonhap News Agency