White House press aide resigns after threatening Politico reporter

TJ Ducklo, a deputy press secretary in the White House, resigned from his position on Saturday amid controversy over threats he made to a reporter for Politico. 

White House press secretary Jen Psaki said in a statement Saturday evening that the White House accepted Ducklo’s resignation after a discussion with him. Ducklo had been suspended on Friday after Vanity Fair reported that he threatened a Politico reporter over a story she was pursuing regarding his relationship earlier this week.

“We accepted the resignation of TJ Ducklo after a discussion with him this evening. This conversation occurred with the support of the White House Chief of Staff,” Psaki said. “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.”

Ducklo in a statement released through his Twitter account said that he regretted his behavior, calling the language he used “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 said.

“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,” he continued.

The White House had defended its decision to suspend Ducklo for one week without pay on Friday, but the move spurred questions given Biden’s warning to staffers on his first day that he would fire anyone who disrespected a colleague. 

“This in our view was an important step to send the message that we don’t find this acceptable,” Psaki had told White House reporters at a briefing Friday afternoon.

According to Vanity Fair, Ducklo, who served as a spokesman for the Biden campaign before joining the White House,  warned Politico reporter Tara Palmeri in an off-the-record conversation that he would “destroy her” if she published a story about his relationship with a reporter for Axios, Alexi McCammond. Ducklo also reportedly made misogynistic comments and accused Palmeri of being “jealous” of their relationship.

The relationship was disclosed earlier this week in a favorable profile by People magazine. McCammond covered the Biden campaign but Axios said she was taken off the beat in November after disclosing her relationship with Ducklo. 

Psaki said Friday that Ducklo apologized to Palmeri following the conversation. She also said that Biden had not been consulted in the decision to suspend Ducklo but that chief of staff Ron Klain had been consulted in the decision. 

Tags Jen Psaki Joe Biden Ron Klain

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