Biden Press Aide Suspended Over Threat

Tuesday, 16 Feb, 2021

TJ Ducklo, the Deputy White House Press Secretary, allegedly threatened a reporter over a story she was about to publish indicating possible collusion with another reporter. The comments included threatening to "destroy" her if the corporate media outlet chose to run a story on the potential conflicts of interest stemming from Ducklo's relationship with McCammond and claiming Palmeri was just "jealous" of "an unidentified man in the past who had "wanted to f-ck" McCammond 'and not you'".

He told Palmieri "I will destroy you", a source with insider knowledge of the call said toVanity Fair.

"No words can express my regret, my embarrassment, and my disgust for my behavior", Ducklo said in a statement.

"We accepted TG Daclo's resignation after talking to him this afternoon", Psaki said, noting that Ron Klein, the White House chief of staff, agreed with his decision. She also said when Ducklo returns, he will no longer work with any reporters from Politico.

A reporter pointed out to Psaki that the White House had known about the interaction for weeks but had only suspended Ducklo after Vanity Fair reported on it.

The next morning, Politico Playbook ran its own accounting of the relationship, questioning the ethics of the situation and saying that it had notified the White House of its plans to publish on Monday, giving Ducklo time to rush out the People story. McCammond, 26, had been covering the Biden campaign when she befriended and subsequently began dating Ducklo, which eventually led her to switch beats and call off plans to cover the White House. "He is the first to acknowledge this is not the standard of behavior set out by the president, nor is the standard of behavior set by me, and I am his direct supervisor".

Ducklo's actions and punishment run counter to statements made by Biden on his first day in office.

The apologies offered by her team, along with Ducklo's weeklong suspension, were "an important step to send the message that we don't find it acceptable", Psaki added.

The one-week suspension also appeared to fall well short of President Joe Biden's promise to fire employees on the spot if they were found to disrespect others.

Ducklo has since apologized to the reporter-Politico's Tara Palmeri.

On Friday - almost a month after the phone call had taken place - White House Press Secretary Jenn Psaki said Ducklo had been placed on a "one-week suspension without pay" and will no longer be assigned to work with any Politico reporters when he returns.