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For nearly a month, it was kept secret that White House Deputy Press Secretary TJ Ducklo made derogatory and misogynistic comments toward a Politico reporter.
White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki announced on Friday that Ducklo was suspended for a week without pay after Vanity Fair revealed that he had issued threats to Politico’s Tara Palmeri, who was working on a story about his romantic relationship with another reporter.
The news has stoked criticism over President Joe Biden, as he stated in January that he would immediately fire any of his appointees if he ever learned that they had treated a colleague with disrespect.
“We have a new definition of slapstick,” tweeted Nevada-based journalist Jon Ralston, calling Ducklo’s language “repellent and sexist.”
According to the report, Ducklo, Deputy Press Secretary, had threatened Palmeri over her article, promising to “destroy” her if she published it. He also made misogynistic comments to the reporter.
The magazine reported that in an off-the-record call on Jan. 20th, Ducklo claimed he only wanted to ask about Alexi McCammond because of jealousy that an unidentified man in the past had wanted to have sex with McCammond and not Palmeri.
Politico made an apparent reference to the dispute in its Jan. 21s edition of Playbook, which Palmeri helps write. Noting Biden’s comments about treating colleagues with respect, he wrote: “We have a serious question this morning: does this standard apply to how mid-level press aides treat journalists?”