Biden Press Aide Suspended After Reportedly Threatening Journalist

President Joe Biden’s White House has suspended one of its spokespeople after a report that he had threatened a reporter who was investigating his relationship with another journalist.

TJ Ducklo, a longtime Biden campaign aide who serves as deputy press secretary, won’t get paid during his one-week suspension, according White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki, who described the move as a “significant step.”

“It’s completely unacceptable,” Psaki told reporters on Friday.

Vanity Fair reported Friday that Ducklo used misogynistic language as he threatened Tara Palmeri, a Politico reporter, who was reporting a story about Ducklo’s relationship with Axios reporter Alexi McCammond. Ducklo and McCammond went public with their relationship in a People magazine story.

Psaki said Ducklo had apologized to Palmeri shortly after the confrontation, and that White Hose Communications Director Kate Bedingfield also reached out to an editor at Politico to express remorse over the incident. She also suggested the fact that the discussion was related to Ducklo’s personal life, rather than White House policy, was worthy of consideration when evaluating the incident.

“He had a heated conversation about a story related to his personal life -- I’m not saying that’s acceptable,” Psaki said.

In addition to the suspension, which she said was approved by White House Chief of Staff Ron Klain, Ducklo will no longer be assigned to work with any reporters at Politico, Psaki said, describing the move as an effort to make sure the organization’s reporters felt comfortable interacting with the White House. Psaki said she had not spoken to Biden about the incident.

Ducklo worked in the communications department at Bloomberg from April 2016 to March 2017.

©2021 Bloomberg L.P.

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