Psaki dismisses concerns over lax discipline for White House staffer who threatened to ‘destroy’ reporter

What many thought would be a four-year honeymoon for the Biden administration and the White House press corps seems to be done and over with after only three weeks.

According to Breitbart, White House Deputy Press Secretary T.J. Ducklo found himself the center of controversy this week when news broke that he told a Politico reporter over the phone that he would “destroy” her over a story she was pursuing — but instead of firing Ducklo, as many expected, Biden Press Secretary Jen Psaki announced that he would face merely a one-week suspension without pay.

“I will destroy you”

It was first reported by Vanity Fair that Ducklo had gotten into a heated exchange on Inauguration Day last month with Politico’s Tara Palmeri, who was looking to learn more about Ducklo’s romantic relationship with an Axios reporter named Alexi McCammond. “Palmeri, a coauthor of Politico’s Playbook, contacted McCammond for comment while one of her male colleagues left a message for Ducklo,” Vanity Fair reported.

Ducklo apparently did not appreciate Palmeri’s probing, however, and he is subsequently alleged to have threatened her in a phone call. “I will destroy you,” he reportedly said, vowing to ruin her reputation.

Ducklo was also alleged to have made “derogatory and misogynistic comments” toward Palmeri, including accusing her in very explicit terms of being “jealous” of McCammond and her relationships with Ducklo and others.

“A heated conversation”

The issue was apparently kept under wraps by both the White House and the media until this week, and now, the Biden administration is trying to save face — though the consequences they’ve handed down certainly don’t make it seem like they’re trying too hard, as many in the media were quick to point out.

In addition to “a one-week suspension without pay,” Psaki said Ducklo “will no longer be assigned to work with any reporters at Politico.”

“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,” the press secretary wrote in a tweet. “In addition to his initial apology, he has sent the reporter a personal note expressing his profound regret.”

“Serious question”

The lax punishment for the communications official sparked particular outrage in light of remarks made by Biden to his staffers on his first day in office — namely, that offensive behavior toward anyone would not be tolerated.

“I’m not joking when I say this: If you ever work with me and I hear you treat another colleague with disrespect, talk down to someone, I will fire you on the spot. No ifs, ands, or buts,” the president said, according to a Playbook report authored by Palmeri and others the day after Biden took office.

The recent developments only make the next line in Politico’s Jan. 21 Playbook all the more prudent: “Serious question on our minds this morning: Does this standard apply to how mid-level press aides treat reporters?”

Pressed by reporters during Friday’s briefing at the White House on why Ducklo wasn’t immediately shown the door, Psaki seemed content with the administration’s reaction. “That’s not behavior that we will tolerate,” she said, as Breitbart reported separately. “So those were the steps that were taken, and we felt it was a serious punishment.”

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24 Responses

  1. Psaki needs to go as well. She is the WORST EVER press secretary. Doesn’t fully answer questions and doesn’t know what is going on “circle back”.

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  3. Psaki’s answers consist of “eh eh eh eh” & playing with her hair & snarky remarks. Show this girl the door NOW then we’ll listen.

  4. Why is everyone complaining?? You get what you pay for — and you’re now finding out what a “bad deal” Biden really is !!

  5. Can you just imagine if this had occurred in Trumps administration !!!…… Well it looks like Biden is full of poop when he said behavior like this would mean ‘out the door immediately’. This administration I’d bet already has MUCH friction within.

  6. This, so called “ADMINISTRATION” is such a joke. If President Trump, and yes, he is still my President would had run his Administration just 00.0001% the way Biden is doing my God, it would be all over the news. Biden and his Ho as a Vice president need to go NOW!!! They and their DemoRats will destroy our country.

  7. We have an administration put in place by corruption and if you want to know more you will have to follow the yellow brick road to the land of OZ and pull back the curtain to see who has the booming voice.

  8. Sun PM. Looks like Ducklo got the deal he could not refuse. lol Be interesting now to see if Alexi will continue with this ‘insider’ relation. He was part of the Biden crowd so Psaki maynot have had much to say about the hire. Trust me, this is just the beginning of her having to munch an excrement sandwich. This bunch will overplay their hand …. big time! They are not as good as they think they are.

  9. Psaki said “That’s not behavior that we will tolerate,” But that’s exactly what they are doing.. They are tolerating it. What you permit is what you promote. So I suspect there will be other instances of this sort of behavior in the future.

  10. We had the best press secretary ever and she was replaced by the worst press secretary ever. Nice going Joe! Another one of your well thought out smart decisions. I guess I was foolish, I did not believe even you could screw things up this badly so quickly.

  11. Psaki is a breath of fresh, and that’s all she does
    blowing just wind … great that so many Republicans
    voted for Sleepy Joe …
    a major disgrace to have lost Donald Trump.
    There’s a little-known way Trump very soon will
    have his day. It involves a Federal Ruling he oversaws
    during his final year of his Presidency that could have
    changed America Forever — the $15.1 Trillion in
    New Wealth countless ways for everyday Americans
    to benefit >>> Not to be as Joe Biden is busy destroying
    everything Trump did in record time … most in 50-years
    of accomplishments …

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