Joe Biden’s Deputy Press Secretary TJ Ducklo threatened a Politico reporter for pursuing a story about his romantic relationship with an Axios reporter.
People Magazine recently ran a sympathetic article revealing that Ducklo is dating Axios reporter Alexi McCammond, who covered the 2020 Biden campaign.
The White House announced that Ducklo would be suspended for one week.
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 fuck” McCammond “and not you.” Ducklo also accused Palmeri of being “jealous” of his relationship with McCammond. (Palmeri had no prior relationship or communication with McCammond before calling her to report on the Playbook item, which was a story that she was assigned and had not independently pursued.)
The following day, an editor at Politico reached out to the White House about Ducklo’s threats, spurring multiple conversations between the news outlet and senior-level officials on January 21, including White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki, White House Communications Director Kate Bedingfield, and Biden senior adviser Anita Dunn. In one of those calls, senior White House officials acknowledged that Ducklo’s handling of the call with Palmeri was inappropriate and said he would send a note to her apologizing for the comments. In another conversation, the same White House officials took aim at Palmeri by accusing her of breaking an off-the-record agreement with Ducklo and pressing Politico as to why the contents of the call had been revealed. Palmeri had only informed her editors of the contents of the call, which she had transcribed into her notes as it was happening, after they asked her about it.
When asked Psaki did confirm that they knew about the harassment and that they did suspend her deputy once the story became public, they left him in his jobs for weeks.
— @amuse (@amuse) February 12, 2021
Remember when Joe Biden “promised” to fire anyone working for him who disrespected another colleague?
“If you’re ever working with me and I hear you treat another colleague with disrespect, talk down to someone, I promise I will fire you on the spot,” Biden said on January 20.
Why is Joe Biden tolerating this behavior by one of his top communications officials?
Biden swears in his political appointees and issues a warning:
"If you're ever working with me and I hear you treat another colleague with disrespect, talk down to someone, I promise I will fire you on the spot." pic.twitter.com/6ydnUXQf0d
— The Recount (@therecount) January 20, 2021
Another broken Biden promise!
Michelle is an American conservative author she is committed to the constitutional principles of individual freedom, economic liberty, limited government, personal responsibility, and traditional values. She is a libertarian and provocateur who believes in freedom and liberty for all Americans. As a passionate journalist, she works relentlessly to uncover the corruption happening in Washington, while exposing politicians and individuals who wish to do us harm.