White House press secretary Jen Psaki is under fire after President Biden’s deputy White House press secretary TJ Ducklo was accused of making ‘derogatory and misogynistic remarks’ to Politico reporter Tara Palmeri. The Biden Administration merely placed Ducklo on a one-week suspension for threatening the journalist, even though President Biden has vowed to fire his aides “on the spot” for harassment.
Ducklo told Palmeri “I will destroy you” after she’d been assigned to follow up on a People story about his relationship with a different reporter, Alexi McCammond from Axios. He accused her of chasing the story because she was “jealous” of McCammond and declared that he would ruin her reputation if she published the story. Palmeri had no prior relationship or communications with McCammond and had been assigned the story, not independently pursued.
This led to extremely intense meetings between the Washington news outlet’s editors and senior White House officials. An editor at Politico reached out to the White House regarding Ducklo’s threats and spurred multiple conversations with Jen Psaki, White House Communications Director Kate Bedingfield, and senior advisor Anita Dunn. Ducklo later apologized that he “lost his temper in a way that was unprofessional” and said he should’ve done a better job at “keeping his emotions in check.”
Secretary Psaki issued a statement that Ducklo apologized to the reporter and acknowledged that this is not the standard of behavior set out by the President. She wrote that his remarks were “completely unacceptable” but refused to address why he wasn’t outright fired. She said in a series of tweets that he can no longer speak to reporters at Politico and said his one-week suspension without pay “felt like a serious punishment.” This goes against President Biden’s zero-tolerance promises to appointees on Inauguration Day.
“I am 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 promise you I will fire you on the spot. On the spot. No ifs, and, or buts. Everybody is entitled to be treated with decency and dignity. That’s been missing in a big way the last four years,” President Biden said at the time.
Psaki dodged Biden’s Jan. 20 remarks and said that it doesn’t meet their standard or the President’s standard. “It was important that we took a step to make that clear and that included not just an apology directly from him and apologies directly from us at the highest levels there, but also a step to suspend him for one week without pay. That, in our view, was an important step to send the message that we don’t find it acceptable,” she said.
Other white House officials even went so far as to accusing Palmeri of breaking an off-the-record agreement with Ducklo. She later informed her editors that she had only transcribed notes as it was happening and did not release any calls or audio recordings. What happened to the radical left Me Too Movement, believing all victims and holding everyone ‘accountable’? Or is that down the drain now that Trump is out of office?