White House deputy press secretary T.J. Ducklo resigned Saturday, the day after he was suspended for threatening a journalist seeking to cover his relationship with another reporter. This after critics ridiculed the light 1-week suspension announced and defended by Press Secretary Psaki.
Ducklo was put on a weeklong suspension without pay Friday after Vanity Fair reported that he tried to suppress a story by telling a Politico journalist, “I will destroy you.” The journalist sought to report on his relationship with a political reporter at Axios who had covered Joe Biden’s presidential campaign and transition.
In a statement Saturday, Ducklo said he was “devastated to have embarrassed and disappointed my White House colleagues and President Biden.”
“No words can express my regret, my embarrassment and my disgust for my behavior,” he said.
“I used language that no woman should ever have to hear from anyone, especially in a situation where she was just trying to do her job. It was language that was abhorrent, disrespectful and unacceptable.”
People magazine had published a profile of the relationship between Ducklo and the Axios reporter. It was the first time either person publicly acknowledged that they were dating.
It’s the first departure from the new administration, less than a month into President Biden’s tenure.
During a virtual swearing-in for staff on Inauguration Day, Biden told them, “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,” Biden added.
White House press secretary Jen Psaki faced a flurry of questions about the controversy Friday, when reporters highlighted Biden’s comments and questioned the decision to merely suspend Ducklo for a week.