White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki holds a press briefing in the Brady Briefing Room of the White House in Washington, DC. on February 10, 2021.

Source: Ryan Saavedra

The White House announced on Friday that it was suspending Deputy Press Secretary TJ Ducklo after a report surfaced alleging that he sexually harassed and threatened a female reporter who was getting ready to publish a report revealing that he was dating a reporter who had previously been tasked with covering Democrat Joe Biden.

“The confrontation began on Inauguration Day, January 20, after [Politico reporter Tara] Palmeri, a coauthor of Politico’s Playbook, contacted [Axios political reporter Alexi] McCammond for comment while one of her male colleagues left a message for Ducklo,” Vanity Fair reported. “Ducklo subsequently called a Playbook editor to object to the story, but was told to call the Playbook reporters with his concerns. But instead of calling the male reporter who initially contacted him, Ducklo tried to intimidate Palmeri by phone in an effort to kill the story. ‘I will destroy you,’ Ducklo told her, according to the sources, adding that he would ruin her reputation if she published it.”

“During the off-the-record call, Ducklo made derogatory and misogynistic comments, accusing Palmeri of only reporting on his relationship—which, due to the ethics questions that factor into the relationship between a journalist and White House official, falls under the purview of her reporting beat—because she was ‘jealous’ that an unidentified man in the past had ‘wanted to f***’ McCammond ‘and not you,’” the report added. “Ducklo also accused Palmeri of being ‘jealous’ of his relationship with McCammond.”

White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki said following the report that Ducklo has been suspended for a week over the incident.

“TJ Ducklo has apologized to the reporter, with whom he had a heated conversation about his personal life,” Psaki wrote on Twitter. “He is the first to acknowledge this is not the standard of behavior set out by the President.”

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