Suskind also quotes Christina Romer, former head of the Council of Economic Advisers, saying, “I felt like a piece of meat” following at least one meeting with top economic adviser Lawrence Summers.

Dunn and Romer have both disputed their depictions in follow-up interviews with The Washington Post. Dunn told the Post that she specifically would not call the White House a hostile environment, even though her comments seemed to indicate she would.

Romer said President Obama put “many women in important positions” in his administration.

“When problems arose, the president worked hard to fix them,” she said. “I felt respected, included and useful to the team.”

Romer’s later comments sharply contrast with Suskin’s description. Suskind also quotes at least one unnamed, senior female official calling the White House a “boy’s club” and charging the president with some responsibility for that environment.

Later, defending his book on MSNBC, Suskind said that the White House might no longer be a hostile work environment but that “during that very difficult period from ’09 to ’10 it was.” 

Biden said about 70 percent of his communications staff are women, and that he asked them after the book’s release whether they’d seen sexism in the White House, saying he would want to know about it if there were.

“If there’s sexism in the White House, the person engaging in it is in trouble,” Biden said.

--This post was updated at 2:42 p.m.