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TJ Ducklo threatened Politico reporter Tara Palmeri, who was assigned to write about his affair with Alexi McCammond, who had been covering Biden’s presidential campaign.
But the incident is raising questions about ethical standards in the White House, after Biden threatened to fire any staff member who treated people with disrespect. There were also questions about why Ducklo was not punished until her conversation was publicly reported, more than two weeks after it originally happened.
Vanity Fair revealed on Friday that Palmeri approached McCammond to ask about the romance, while one of Palmeri’s male colleagues contacted Ducklo about it.
But Ducklo called Palmer, rather than her colleague, and threatened her in an effort to end the story. He told her that she would ‘destroy’ her and accused her of being jealous of McCammond.
“I will destroy you,” Ducklo told Palmeri, sources told Vanity Fair, adding that it would ruin her reputation if the story about her relationship were published.
President Joe Biden has put his deputy press secretary TJ Ducklo on a one-week suspension without pay after he threatened a reporter who asked questions about his relationship with a journalist at Axios
In the unofficial call, Ducklo made disparaging and misogynistic remarks, accusing Palmeri of reporting on their relationship because she was’ jealous’ that an unidentified man in the past had ‘wanted to fuck’ McCammond ‘and not you. .
After Vanity Fair published her story, the White House announced that Ducklo had apologized to Palmeri and was suspended.
TJ Ducklo apologized to the reporter, with whom he had a heated conversation about his personal life. He is the first to acknowledge that this is not the standard of behavior set by the president. In addition to his initial apology, he sent the reporter a personal note expressing his deep regret, ” said White House press secretary Jen Psaki.
She said that with the approval of White House Chief of Staff Ron Klein, Ducklo was suspended and would not work with Politico reporters in the future.
With the approval of the White House Chief of Staff, he has been suspended for a week without pay. Also, when he returns, he will no longer be assigned to work with any reporters at Politico, ”Psaki noted.
But his announcement did not assuage outrage at the way a White House official treated a reporter, particularly after President Biden told staff they would be fired if they did not treat people with respect.
CNN’s Jake Tapper wrote on Twitter: ‘Standards that are not met are not standards. Are lies ‘.
CNN reporter Abby Philip tweeted: “Please note WH has known about this since January.”
And CNN’s Chris Cillizza wrote: ‘A week? Didn’t Biden say that he had a “zero tolerance” policy for this type of behavior?
And Olivia Nuzzi of New York magazine wrote: ‘If Ducklo’s conduct as a White House official is so unprofessional that, 3 weeks after the administration, he has been banned from working with reporters from a major news organization How can you do your job? ‘
Both Alexi McCammond and TJ Ducklo posted about their relationship in their Instagram stories
Politico first contacted the White House about the relationship on January 20.
Following Ducklo’s comments to Palmeri, a Politico editor approached the White House, leading to several conversations between Politico staff and senior White House communications staff, including Psaki, the director of White House Communications Kate Bedingfield and Anita Dunn, West Wing Operations director and a longtime Democratic operative.
In a conversation, White House officials acknowledged that Ducklo’s handling of the call with Palmeri was inappropriate. He later sent Palmeri an email note in which he regretted losing his cool, but did not address the allegations and threats.
Threats to journalists are not uncommon. But the Biden White House vowed to be different and vowed to be one of the most transparent and ethical in American history.
When President Biden swore to the White House staff on January 21, he told them, ‘I’m not kidding when I say this: if you ever work with me and I hear you treat another colleague with disrespect, talk to someone, I will. say goodbye on the spot. No ifs, ands, or buts.’
McCammond and Ducklo posted about their relationship on their Instagram stories, going public with the romance themselves.
And when Politico informed the White House that they were going to publish their story about it on February 9, a story about the romance appeared on People magazine’s website the night before, on February 8.
The glossy article says that Ducklo and McCammond were friends first and began dating in November, after which they revealed their relationship with their superiors.
Politico noted in his article on the relationship: ‘POLITICO first contacted the White House in late January with questions about Ducklo and McCammond. On Monday night, Playbook informed Biden’s communications staff that this article would be published today. Hours later, People posted a glowing profile of McCammond and Ducklo’s relationship.