White House deputy press secretary suspended for threatening reporter

White House deputy press secretary suspended for threatening reporter

Joe Biden's White House has suspended one of its spokespersons for a week without pay after he allegedly threatened by telephone to "destroy" a female reporter investigating his relationship with another journalist, the BBC reports.

"TJ Ducklo has apologised to the reporter, with whom he had a heated conversation about his personal life".

Ducklo reportedly told Palmeri he would ruin her reputation if Politico ran a piece about his relationship with Alexi McAmmond, an Axios political reporter who recently announced she would not be covering the Biden administration because of her romantic involvement with a White House official.

Confronted with those comments from the president, Psaki said Friday that Ducklo's conduct "doesn't meet our standards, it doesn't meet the president's standard, and it was important that we took a step to make that clear". A spokesman for Politico did not reply to a request for comment, but two top editors released a statement Friday: "No journalist at Politico, or any other publication or network, should ever be subjected to such unfounded personal attacks while doing their job".

"This in our view was an important step to send the message that we don't find this acceptable", Psaki told reporters at the White House press briefing.

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Despite President Joe Biden's warning last month that he would fire staffers "on the spot" if they were disrespectful to others, Ducklo was merely suspended without pay for a week and told to apologize.

In response, Psaki claimed the punishment doled out against Ducklo is "serious". "Everybody, everybody is entitled to be treated with decency and dignity".

"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", he said.

In this February 9, 2021 photo, White House deputy press secretary TJ Ducklo listened as press secretary Jen Psaki spoke during a press briefing at the White House in Washington. "No ifs, ands, or buts", the president said during his first day in the White House. I'm not aware of a history of that step being taken; you all can check me on that. She also said when Ducklo returns, he will no longer work with any reporters from Politico. I'm not saying that's acceptable, but I just want to be clear that it was not about an issue related to the White House or a White House policy or anything along those lines. "And that was what we felt was appropriate at the time".

He was "devastated to have embarrassed and disappointed my White House colleagues and President Biden", and wrote that he had made the decision to resign after a discussion with White House communications leadership earlier Saturday.

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