After experiencing a vicious backlash over an aide threatening and sexually harassing a reporter, the White House has decided to address the matter by suspending the staffer for one week. The decision comes amid calls for harsher punishment for Deputy Press Secretary TJ Ducklo, who was upset that the journalist who going to publish a story detailing his intimate relationship with an Axios reporter. It appears that Biden and company believe a one-week suspension is enough to teach him a lesson.
Vanity Fair reported on Friday that Ducklo “tried to quash a story about his relationship with a reporter by issuing threats and using derogatory language to another reporter pursuing it.” On Monday, People published a piece revealing the aide’s relationship with Axios reporter Alexi McCammond, who covered Joe Biden’s campaign.
After the Vanity Fair article was published, the Biden administration initially took no action. But after being pilloried for its inaction, they decided to “punish” him with a one-week suspension.
Let’s take a quick trip down memory lane, back when President Biden swore in his team members. On Jan. 21, he told the future members of his administration, “I am not joking when I say this: If you are 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. No ifs, ands, or buts.”
It looks like Biden might have just been kidding when he made this promise, unfortunately. A one-week suspension for threatening a member of the press is laughable given how the activist media and the Democrats would have reacted if a Trump staffer had engaged in this type of conduct.
During a Friday press conference, White House Press Secretary Jen “Circle Back” Psaki addressed media activists about the matter. CNN’s Kaitlan Collins asked how the administration could “keep this person in a public-facing press relations role dealing with female reporters when he made such sexist comments to this female reporter reaching out for a request for comment?”
After a long, meandering response, Psaki finally said:
He’s the first to acknowledge this is not the standard of behavior set out by the President. Nor is that the standard of behavior set by me and I’m his direct supervisor. In addition to his initial apology, he sent the reporter a personal note expressing his profound regret. The ask, he has been placed, as you noted on a one week suspension without pay, that is a significant step. I’m not aware of a history of that step being taken, you all can check me on that. And in addition, when he returns, he will no longer be assigned to work with any reporters at Politico. I don’t, we don’t, want no one wants anyone to feel uncomfortable, to be put in an uncomfortable position. And that’s not behavior that we will tolerate. So those were the steps that were taken. And we felt it was a serious punishment.
Psaki gave similar answers to other media activists who asked similar questions.
Full Q&A on the W.H. defending not firing their staffer who sexually harassed a female reporter and threatened to “destroy her”:
“We felt [a one-week break] was a serious punishment” pic.twitter.com/W8K8934j6E
— Tom Elliott (@tomselliott) February 12, 2021
This is what we can expect from the activist media under the Biden administration. The press will only hold them accountable when they attack one of their own.
Vanity Fair’s piece reported that Ducklo told reporter Tara Palmeri, “I will destroy you,” and that he would damage her reputation if she published the story. He also made misogynistic comments to her, accusing her of only reporting on his relationship because she was “jealous” that another man “want to f**k” McCammond “and not you.”
It’s not surprising that this is the level of accountability that White House staffers will face when they step out of line. While the activist media is at least feigning outrage over this story, the furor will likely die down by next week and never be mentioned again. It is their refusal to challenge the Biden administration that will allow it to continue doing what it wants.