WASHINGTON (NewsNation Now) — White House deputy press secretary T.J. Ducklo has been suspended for a week without pay after he reportedly issued a sexist and profane threat to a journalist seeking to cover his relationship with another reporter.
White House press secretary Jen Psaki said in a statement Friday that Ducklo had been suspended without pay with the approval of White House chief of staff Ron Klain. She said Ducklo “is the first to acknowledge this is not the standard of behavior set out” by President Joe Biden, and that Ducklo had sent the reporter in question “a personal note professing his profound regret.”
Ducklo’s personal life came under scrutiny earlier this week when Politico reported on his relationship with a reporter for the news outlet Axios who was assigned to cover the Biden campaign and its transition. Before Politico broke the story Tuesday, People Magazine published a glowing profile of the relationship. It was the first time either one had publicly acknowledged the relationship.
On Friday, Vanity Fair published a report citing two unnamed sources that Ducklo had threatened the Politico reporter to try to suppress the story, telling her “I will destroy you.”
Psaki, White House communications director Kate Bedingfield and Anita Dunn, director of West Wing operations, were all reportedly involved in conversations with Politico editors about the incident. Psaki said in her statement that when Ducklo returns, he won’t be assigned to work with any Politico reporters.
During a virtual swearing-in with staff the day he was sworn in, Biden offered his own standard for the conduct he expects from his staff.
“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,” he said that day. “No ifs, ands or buts.”
The Associated Press contributed to this report.