White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki said in a statement on Saturday, “We accepted the resignation of TJ Ducklo after a discussion with him this evening. This conversation occurred with the support of the White House Chief of Staff. We are committed to striving every day to meet the standard set by the President in treating others with dignity and respect, with civility and with a value for others through our words and our actions.”
On Friday, Vanity Fair reported that Ducklo had a verbal confrontation with Politico‘s Tara Palmeri, who was working on a story on his relationship with a reporter for Axios, Alexi McCammond. A male Politico reporter had contacted Ducklo, while Palmeri had reached out to McCammond. But Ducklo called Palmeri to object to the piece.
“I will destroy you” if the story was published, Ducklo told her, according to Vanity Fair. He also reportedly “made derogatory and misogynistic comments.”
In a statement, Ducklo said, “No words can express my regret, my embarrassment and my disgust for my behavior. 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.”
My statement on resigning from the White House. pic.twitter.com/3Jpiiv75vB
— TJ Ducklo (@TDucklo) February 14, 2021
Psaki initially announced that Ducklo would be suspended for a week without pay. At the daily press briefing, Psaki was asked whether this fell short of what President Joe Biden told staffers on Inauguration Day, that he would fire them “on the spot” if “you ever work with me and I hear you treat another colleague with disrespect.”
Psaki responded that Ducklo’s suspension was “in our view was an important step to send the message that we don’t find it acceptable.”
Ducklo served as press secretary during Biden’s presidential campaign, and previously had P.R. positions at NBC News and the Motion Picture Association.
People magazine published a story on Ducklo’s relationship with McCammond. She covered Biden’s presidential campaign and has been reassigned to a new beat covering progressive leaders and Vice President Kamala Harris.