WASHINGTON (AP) – White House deputy press secretary TJ Ducklo resigned the day after his suspension for making a sexist and mundane threat to a journalist trying to cover his relationship with another reporter.
Ducklo was suspended for a week without pay on Friday after a report surfaced on Vanity Fair detailing his sexist threats against a Politico journalist in an attempt to suppress a story about his relationship, telling her: “I will destroy you.” The journalist tried to cover his relationship with a political reporter at Axios who had previously covered the Biden campaign and transition.
In a statement on Saturday, Ducklo said he was “devastated for embarrassing and disappointing my colleagues in the White House and President Biden.”
“No words can express my regret, embarrassment, and disgust about my behavior,” he said. I was using language no woman should ever hear from anyone, especially in a situation where she was just trying to do her job. It was a language that was loathsome, disrespectful, and unacceptable. “
Before Politico released the story on Tuesday, People Magazine published a glowing profile of the relationship. It was the first time either of them had publicly confirmed that they were dating.
It is the first departure from the new administration, less than a month after President Joe Biden’s term in office, and it is because the White House has been criticized for failing to meet the standards Biden himself set in his decision to keep Ducklo has complied.
During an inauguration day virtual swearing-in ceremony, Biden said, “If you ever work with me and I hear that you are treating another colleague with disrespect, speak to someone and I will fire you immediately.”
“No ifs and buts,” added Biden.
White House press secretary Jen Psaki was faced with a series of questions about the controversy on Friday. Reporters highlighted Biden’s comments and questioned the decision to suspend Ducklo for just a week.
In light of these president’s comments, Psaki said Friday that Ducklo’s behavior “is not up to our standards, it is not up to the standard of the president, and it was important that we took a step to make this clear.” She pointed to apologies from top members of the White House communications team and from Ducklo himself to the Politico reporter as elaborate steps that reflect the gravity of the situation.
On Saturday, Psaki said in a statement that Ducklo’s decision was made with the assistance of White House Chief of Staff Ron Klain, adding that “we strive every day to meet the standard set by the President in order to serve others with dignity and To treat with respect, with courtesy and with a value to others through our words and actions. “