Joe Biden has only been back in the White House for a few weeks at this point, and already an ugly, swampy scandal has broken out.
This latest bit of old-school Washington dirt is filthy, indeed.
T.J. Ducklo, President Joe Biden’s deputy press secretary, is accused of threatening Politico reporter Tara Palmeri for working on a story regarding his relationship with Axios journalist Alexi McCammond, according to a Friday report.
Vanity Fair reports:
The confrontation began on Inauguration Day, January 20, after Palmeri, a coauthor of Politico’s Playbook, contacted McCammond for comment while one of her male colleagues left a message for Ducklo, according to sources. […] But instead of calling the male reporter who initially contacted him, Ducklo tried to intimidate Palmeri by phone in an effort to kill the story. “I will destroy you,” Ducklo told her, according to sources, adding that he would ruin her reputation if she published it.
During the off-the-record call, Ducklo made derogatory and misogynistic comments, accusing Palmeri of only reporting on his relationship—which, due to the ethics questions that factor into the relationship between a journalist and White House official, falls under the purview of her reporting beat—because she was “jealous” that an unidentified man in the past had “wanted to fuck” McCammond “and not you.” Ducklo also accused Palmeri of being “jealous” of his relationship with McCammond.
The White House was quick to respond.
Hours following Vanity Fair‘s report, White House press secretary Jen Psaki announced that Ducklo (pictured) would not be fired and instead be placed on a one-week suspension without pay.
“TJ Ducklo has apologized to the reporter, with whom he had a heated conversation about his personal life. He is the first to acknowledge this is not the standard of behavior set out by the President,” Psaki wrote on Twitter. “In addition to his initial apology, he has sent the reporter a personal note expressing his profound regret.”
“With the approval of the White House Chief of Staff, he has been placed on a one-week suspension without pay,” the White House official added. “In addition, when he returns, he will no longer be assigned to work with any reporters at Politico.”
Biden himself pledged to immediately fire anyone from his staff who treated other disrespectfully – a promise that he appears to have broken by merely suspending Ducklo.
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