A member of the Biden White House press team, TJ Ducklo, has submitted his resignation following allegations that he sexually harassed and threatened a female reporter.
Ducklo, the former White House deputy press secretary, said in a statement: “No words can express my regret, my embarrassment, and my disgust for my behavior, I used language that no women should ever have to hear from anyone, especially in a situation where she was just trying to do her job. 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,” Ducklo 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. This incident is not representative of who I am as a person, and I will be determined to earn back the trust of everyone I have let down because of my intolerable actions,” Ducklo concluded.
Ducklo’s was suspended just one day prior to his resignation after a Vanity Fair story broke about the Biden White House employee’s alleged sexist, profane tirade against a female Politico reporter, in which he reportedly threatened to “destroy” her if she published a story about his relationship with another reporter.
The Vanity Fair report read:
“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 the sources. Ducklo subsequently called a Playbook editor to object to the story, but was told to call the Playbook reporters with his concerns. 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 the 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 [f***]” McCammond “and not you.” Ducklo also accused Palmeri of being “jealous” of his relationship with McCammond.”
Vanity Fair also claimed that multiple senior-level White House officials acknowledged at the time that Ducklo’s behavior was “inappropriate,” but chose to wait until the story dropped on Feb. 12 to issue his suspension.
White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki – who has made a name for herself early on as being one of the worst press secretaries in recent memory – also issued a statement on Saturday, explaining that she accepted Ducklo’s resignation after a discussion with him.
“We are committed to striving every day to meet the standard set by the President in treating others with dignity and respect, with civility and with a value for others through our words and our actions,” Psaki said in part.
Joe Concha, a media reporter for The Hill, derided Psaki’s statement, tweeting, “Psaki, along with senior aide Anita Dunn, was made aware of Ducklo’s sexist tirade on Jan. 21. Only after the Vanity Fair story on Feb 12 did Psaki/the administration act because they had to. Without the VF story, nothing happens here. This accountably statement is laughable.”