WH Suspends T.J. Ducklo 1 Week for Threatening Reporter; Media Outraged: ‘Unacceptable,’ ‘Has to Be Fired’

(INSET: T.J. Ducklo) WASHINGTON, DC - FEBRUARY 01: White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki t
Chip Somodevilla/Getty, MSNBC

Establishment media journalists are fuming over news that Biden deputy press secretary T.J. Ducklo will remain in his role after a report alleging he threatened Politico author Tara Palmeri for revealing his relationship with Axios’ Alexi McCammond.

As Vanity Fair reported Friday:

The confrontation began on Inauguration Day, January 20, after Palmeri, a coauthor of Politico’s Playbook, contacted McCammond for comment while one of her male colleagues left a message for Ducklo, according to sources. […] 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 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 fuck” McCammond “and not you.” Ducklo also accused Palmeri of being “jealous” of his relationship with McCammond.

Shortly after Vanity Fair‘s report broke, White House press secretary Jen Psaki announced that Ducklo had apologized to the Politico reporter and would be placed on a one-week suspension without pay.

“T.J. Ducklo has apologized to the reporter, with whom he had a heated conversation about his personal life. He is the first to acknowledge this is not the standard of behavior set out by the President,” Psaki tweeted. “In addition to his initial apology, he has sent the reporter a personal note expressing his profound regret.”

“With the approval of the White House Chief of Staff, he has been placed on a one-week suspension without pay,” she added. “In addition, when he returns, he will no longer be assigned to work with any reporters at Politico.”

Ducklo’s alleged remarks sparked outrage from reporters, with some calling for his immediate firing.


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