Joe Biden Science Adviser Eric Lander Admits Violating White House Workplace Policy

Dr. Eric Lander, listens as President-elect Joe Biden speaks during an event at The Queen theater, Jan. 16, 2021, in Wilmington, Del. A White House review found credible evidence that Lander, the director of the Office of Science and Technology Policy and science adviser to President Joe Biden, bullied staffers …
AP Photo/Matt Slocum, File

An internal White House investigation reportedly found President Joe Biden’s top science adviser, Eric Lander, had throughout his White House tenure “disrespectful interactions” with colleagues that violated Biden’s workplace policy.

The “credible evidence” of Lander’s behavior violates Biden’s pledge that everyone working for the president would be treated with “decency and dignity,” Politico reported.

“If you’re ever working with me and I hear you treated another colleague with disrespect, talk down to someone, I promise I will fire you on the spot. On the spot. No ifs, ands, or buts,” Biden promised last year. “Everybody, everybody is entitled to be treated with decency and dignity”:

The “credible evidence” of Lander’s “disrespectful interactions with staff by Dr. Lander and OSTP [Office of Science and Technology Policy] leadership” includes bullying and demeaning subordinates, according to Christian Peele, the White House’s deputy director of OSTP management and administration for personnel.

Lander, a White House cabinet member who has been touted as a central figure in Biden’s failed attempt to shut down the virus, spoke “harshly and disrespectfully to colleagues in front of other colleagues,” Peele said in the recording Politico obtained.

“The investigation found credible evidence of instances of multiple women having complained to other staff about negative interactions with Dr. Lander, where he spoke to them in a demeaning or abrasive way in front of other staff,” Peele added.

Fourteen former and current OSTP staff members under Lander’s direction confirmed the White House investigation to Politico, corroborating that “Lander frequently bullied, cut off and dismissed subordinates.” Lander allegedly yelled and humiliated subordinates in front of team members.
After Lander reportedly learned the White House investigation would go public, he apologized for his “conduct” to Politico and admitted he “poorly” treated staffers.

“It’s my responsibility to set a respectful tone for our community. It’s clear that I have not lived up to this responsibility,” he said. “I have spoken to colleagues within OSTP in a disrespectful or demeaning way.”

On Tuesday, Lander is scheduled to testify before the House’s Health Subcommittee on biomedical research. It is unknown if Lander will hold his White House position at the time of the hearing with Biden’s promise to fire team members who violated workplace rules of conduct.

Follow Wendell Husebø on Twitter and Gettr @WendellHusebø.


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