Biden aide resigns over 'abhorrent' comments to reporter

By: AFP      Published: 11:55 AM, 14 Feb, 2021
Biden aide resigns over 'abhorrent' comments to reporter
White House deputy press secretary TJ Ducklo is dating Axios reporter Alexi McCammond.

The White House said Saturday it has accepted the resignation of a staffer who allegedly threatened to "destroy" a reporter who was asking about his personal life.

White House Deputy Spokesman TJ Ducklo was originally suspended for one week without pay, but now the administration of President Joe Biden has accepted his resignation, White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki said in a statement.

According to Vanity Fair magazine, Ducklo called Politico reporter Tara Palmeri after she began asking questions about his months-old personal relationship with a reporter from Politico rival Axios, Alexi McCammond.

"I will destroy you," Ducklo allegedly said to Palmeri in a phone call shortly after Biden's January 20 presidential inauguration.

According to Vanity Fair, Ducklo "made derogatory and misogynistic comments" to Palmeri and called her "jealous."

Psaki said the White House accepted Ducklo's resignation after speaking with him Saturday evening and is acting with the support of the White House chief of staff.

"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's statement said.  

As the story broke Friday, Psaki said Ducklo apologized to the reporter "with whom he had a heated conversation about his personal life."

Ducklo, who was national press secretary for Biden's 2020 election campaign, issued a statement on Twitter addressing his "intolerable actions."

"No words can express my regret, my embarrassment, and my 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," he said. 

"It was language that was abhorrent, disrespectful and unacceptable."

Ducklo added that he was "devastated to have embarrassed and disappointed my White House colleagues and President Biden."

Politico Playbook, the Washington politics tips and gossip newsletter that Palmeri reports for, wrote this week that McCammond made it public in November that she was dating Ducklo.

A day after being sworn in as president, Biden warned his White House staff against mistreating others.

"I'm not joking when I say this: if you are ever working with me and I hear you treat another colleague with disrespect, talk down to someone, I will fire you on the spot."