WASHINGTON, D.C. – Joe Biden’s administration has failed its first test of the President’s zero-tolerance policy towards disrespecting others. This comes after a White House press aide who threatened to “destroy” a female member of the press corps was given a slap on the wrist after making his threat.
Upon taking office, Joe Biden made a public display when he told his staff, “I will fire you on the spot” if a member of his administration got out of line. In the case of Press Aide T.J. Ducklo, that never happened.
Joe Biden’s zero-tolerance policy toward disrespect already dead
“I’m not joking when I say this…If you’re 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 or but,” the President said shortly after taking office.
Pres. Joe Biden delivers stern directive to his incoming staff: “I’m not joking when I say this: if you’re ever working with me and I hear you treat another with disrespect… I promise you I will fire you on the spot.” https://t.co/QEZob8dEL6 #InaugurationDay pic.twitter.com/EOUrYQggkO
— ABC News (@ABC) January 20, 2021
“I will destroy you!” Biden aide tells female reporter investigating unethical love affair
T.J. Ducklo was a White House press aide and former Biden campaign aide who got into a heated argument with Politico reporter Tara Palmeri who was snooping around in Ducklo’s love life. Palmeri was investigating a potential conflict of interest in Ducklo’s relationship with Axios White House Press Reporter Alexi McCammond. McCammond later confirmed her intimate relationship with a key member of the President’s inner circle while covering the Biden administration for her company.
When it was learned the Ducklo threatened to “destroy” Palmeri, the White House did not fire him as you would have expected from Biden’s zero-tolerance on such matters.
Psaki circles back for an apology
Enter Jen Psaki, Biden’s chief press secretary who, for once had a quick answer and response to the Ducklo scandal.
“TJ Ducklo, who is the deputy who you’re asking about, has apologized to the reporter — apologized to the reporter quite shortly after the comments were made. He had a heated conversation about a story related to his personal life. 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,” Psaki said as she circled back with White House reporters. “With the approval of the White House Chief of Staff, he has been placed on a one-week suspension without pay. In addition, when he returns, he will no longer be assigned to work with any reporters at Politico.”
Psaki later issued a press release confirming Ducklo’s slap on the wrist.
“TJ Ducklo has apologized to the reporter, with whom he had a heated conversation about his personal life. He is the first to acknowledge this is not the standard of behavior set out by the President,” she said. “In addition to his initial apology, he has sent the reporter a personal note expressing his profound regret.”
What about that zero-tolerance policy and “I will fire you on the spot!” stuff?
The press was stunned that after such a stern statement by the President on respecting others, a member of his inner circle was being given a pass. What happened to “I’ll fire you on the spot”?
Eventually, as pressure mounted, Ducklo tendered his own resignation.
“We accepted the resignation of TJ Ducklo after a discussion with him this evening,” White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki said in a statement a few days later. “This conversation occurred with the support of the White House Chief of Staff.”
Couple later admitted their relationship bordered on unethical
The couple later admitted they hid their unethical relationship, “It means a lot of calls in hallways, in bathrooms and while one of us is walking her dog,” Ducklo said.
“TJ and I knew full well the unfair criticism our relationship might face,” McCammond said. “But knew that we weren’t going to let bullies get in the way of our own happiness.”
McCammond still remains employed at Axios where she lists her job as “covering progressives”.
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