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White House aide resigns after threatening reporter

TJ Ducklo said he was “devastated to have embarrassed and disappointed my White House colleagues and President Biden”.

File photo. TJ Ducklo.
File photo. TJ Ducklo.
Image: PA Images

THE WHITE HOUSE’S deputy press secretary has resigned, a day after being suspended for issuing a sexist and profane threat to a journalist seeking to cover his relationship with another reporter.

TJ Ducklo had been put on a week-long suspension without pay on Friday after a report surfaced in Vanity Fair outlining his sexist threats against a female Politico journalist to try to suppress a story about his relationship, telling her “I will destroy you”.

The journalist had been seeking to report on his relationship with a political reporter at Axios who had previously covered the Biden campaign and transition.

In a statement yesterday, Ducklo said he was “devastated to have embarrassed and disappointed my White House colleagues and President Biden”.

“No words can express my regret, my embarrassment and my disgust for my behaviour,” he said.

“I used language that no woman should ever have to hear from anyone, especially in a situation where she was just trying to do her job. It was language that was abhorrent, disrespectful and unacceptable.”

Before Politico broke the story on Tuesday, People Magazine published a glowing profile of the relationship. It was the first time either one had publicly acknowledged that they were dating.

It is the first departure from the new administration, less than a month into President Joe Biden’s tenure, and it comes as the White House was facing criticism for not living up to standards set by Biden himself in their decision to retain Ducklo.

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During a virtual swearing-in for staff on Inauguration Day, Biden said that “if you ever work with me and I hear you treat another colleague with disrespect, talk down to someone, I will fire you on the spot”.

White House press secretary Jen Psaki faced a flurry of questions about the controversy Friday, with reporters highlighting Biden’s comments and questioning the decision to merely suspend Ducklo for a week.

Confronted with those comments from the president, Psaki said on 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”.

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