White House Grilled Over One Week Suspension For Biden Aide
White House spokesman TJ Ducklo and his relationship with a reporter from Axios was the subject of a rather fawning article in People this week. Most of Washington had no clue that behind-the-scenes there was a battle brewing. Ducklo was involved in an extremely heated discussion with a reporter from Politico who was chasing the same story about his relationship with Alexi McCammond. Ducklo threatened to ‘destory’ Politico reporter Tara Palmeri and spoke to her in a ‘derogatory’ and ‘misogynistic’ way during one call in particular.
Vanity Fair highlighted some alleged portions of the chat:
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 Biden administration said he would be suspended without pay for a week but would remain a staffer. Later, White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki was confronted by the press after reports suggested Ducklo was given a slap on the wrist over the incident. Psaki defended the response but struggled to justify the soft punishment.
President Biden, who said “if you are ever working with me and I hear you treat another colleague with disrespect … talk down to someone, I promise you I will fire you on the spot,” on Inauguration Day is taking flack for falling short of that promise.