White House aide TJ Ducklo resigns after threatening a reporter
'I used language that no woman should ever have to hear from anyone, especially in a situation where she was just trying to do her job,' Ducklo says in a statement
T.J. Ducklo, who served on President Joe Biden‘s staff since 2019, has resigned his White House post one day after being suspended following reports that he made threatening comments toward a female reporter.
Ducklo, who was a White House deputy press secretary, revealed that he had left the Biden administration in a statement posted to Twitter Saturday evening. It was the first comment he made since his suspension in which he expressed “regret,” “embarrassment” and “disgust for my behavior.”
“I used language that no woman should ever have to hear from anyone, especially in a situation where she was just trying to do her job,” Ducklo wrote. “It was language that was abhorrent, disrespectful, and unacceptable.”
“I am devastated to have embarrassed and disappointed my White House colleagues and President Biden, and after a discussion with White House communications leadership tonight, I resigned my position and will not be returning from administrative leave,” he continued. “I know this was terrible. I know I can’t take it back. But I also know I can learn from it and do better.”
Ducklo concluded by saying that he can “learn from” this incident “and do better.”
As previously reported by theGrio, Ducklo was suspended for one week Friday after media reports revealed an incident between him and a Politico reporter, Tara Palmeri, who sought to write a story about his romantic relationship with an Axios reporter who previously covered now-President Biden’s presidential campaign. Ducklo joined the campaign as national press secretary in April 2019.
According to Vanity Fair, Ducklo accused Palmeri of being “jealous” of his relationship with McCammond, citing it as motivation to write a story about the couple. As he attempted to have the report on the relationship suppressed, Ducklo said, “I will destroy you.”
Ducklo has been dating Axios reporter Alexi McCammond, which was disclosed last week in a People article that celebrated their romantic parring. That same day, Politico reported in Playbook, the outlet’s newsletter that’s well-read in political circles, that its reporters had been working on a story regarding McCammond’s relationship with Ducklo, which would have called into question her romantic connection to a source on her beat.
After disclosing the relationship to editors in November, McCammond was reassigned to cover now-Vice President Kamala Harris and progressives to alleviate an appearance of a conflict of interest.
“Politico first contacted the White House in late January with questions about Ducklo and McCammond,” the newsletter said. “On Monday evening, Playbook informed Biden’s comms staff that this item would be published today. Hours later, a glowing profile of McCammond and Ducklo’s relationship was published by People.”
Axios was launched in 2017 by three former Politico reporters.
White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki announced Friday that Ducklo had been put on administrative leave for a week without pay, following an investigation of the incident that included herself, Kate Bedingfield, White House communications director, and Anita Dunn, director of West Wing operations. The suspension was then approved by White House chief of staff Ron Klain.
Psaki said Ducklo had sent “a personal note professing his profound regret” to Palmeri.
Biden has made it clear to his White House staff that disrespectful behavior among his staff would not be tolerated on his watch.
As reported by CNN, in Biden’s swearing-in of his White House staff, he gave them fair warning: “I’m not joking when I say this: If you’re 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.”
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