Jill Biden's top aide, Anthony Bernal, accused by multiple former colleagues of bullying and sexual harassment

 March 20, 2024

First lady Jill Biden's top aide, Anthony Bernal, has been accused by multiple current and former White House staffers of bullying and verbal sexual harassment, but rather than oust him for his alleged bad behavior, the Biden inner circle has circled their wagons around him, Fox News reported.

Now multiple current and former White House staffers, both on and off the record, have come to Bernal's defense and praised him as a man of character and integrity, one who is tough but fair in pushing others to meet expectations, and who has never acted inappropriately toward others.

None of the defenders of Bernal directly addressed the allegations against him, however, and the White House declined to confirm or deny whether any sort of investigation has been launched to determine the veracity of the accusations of bullying and harassment that face him.

Accused of bullying and sexually harassing commentary

The New York Post reported last week that, according to multiple unnamed current and former staffers, Bernal has a decade-long history of bullying and sexually harassing other staffers in the White House, often with denigrating or speculative commentary about the penis size of other male staffers and even Secret Service agents.

Bernal, who is openly gay, is reportedly exceptionally close to the first lady, so much so that he has been referred to as her "work husband" and is considered to be "untouchable," a reputation that likely explains why no action has ever been taken against him.

"It is to make people uncomfortable and to have power over them," one source said of Bernal's sexually harassing remarks. "It is Me Too -- classic Me Too."

"It was a lot of inappropriate remarks -- talking about other people’s attractiveness and speculating about their sex lives at very weird moments," one former colleague said, while another former co-worker alleged, "I have heard him say inappropriate things about people’s sexuality or pry inappropriately into people’s personal lives. I heard him ask if people are gay all the time."

Not the first time complaints have been registered

The Post noted that this is not the first time that anonymous complaints from fellow White House staffers have been lodged against Bernal, as an August 2021 Politico report documented allegations that he had a "mean streak" and created a "toxic" work environment in which he was often "berating" other staffers with "noxious" commentary and insults.

Yet, while that report certainly portrayed Bernal as a verbally abusive co-worker who exploits the protection offered by his close relationship with Jill Biden since 2008, it made no mention of any sort of sexually-themed harassment.

The big question then, which remains unanswered now nearly three years later, is the first lady's level of awareness of her top aide's alleged abusive behavior, as some believe that she would intervene if she knew while others suspect she wouldn't care even if she did know, as she values his services as a sort of tough enforcer on her behalf.

Allegations expose hypocrisy of Bidens' supposed no-tolerance for abusive behavior

Both the Post and Fox News observed that, if the accusations against Bernal are true, his alleged behavior -- and the lack of any corrective action from the White House -- appears to sharply conflict with the warning of consequences for bad behavior that President Joe Biden delivered to all White House aides and staffers on his first day in office.

Everybody was "entitled to be treated with decency and dignity," Biden said, according to Axios at that time. "I’m not joking when I say this: If you’re ever working with me and I hear you treat another colleague with disrespect, talk down to someone, I promise you I will fire you on the spot. On the spot. No ifs or buts."

"They talk a big game about integrity, decency, and kindness but when you work for the Bidens, you experience anything but that," one former White House adviser told the Post. "They choose to surround themselves with bullies who run around the White House like mean girls, making the president and first lady look like phonies to everyone in Washington because everyone on the inside talks about what happens there on the outside."

"There is genuine frustration with the first lady among the staff inside the White House. How can you write a children’s book about your husband fighting bullies while your most senior staffer harasses and berates the staff in your own office and your husband’s team on a regular basis?" another former staffer, who lived in fear of retaliation if they openly complained, said. "Her book and his stern lecture at the beginning of the administration about respect for colleagues is all bulls--t. They couldn’t care less how staff is treated because staff is totally disposable to them. They’ve had a revolving door of staff catering to them for their entire adult lives."

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