Biden aide resigns after ‘unacceptable’ threats against reporter

Deputy Press Secretary TJ Ducklo says remarks to female journalist were ‘abhorrent, disrespectful and unacceptable’.

White House Deputy Press Secretary TJ Ducklo announced his resignation late on Saturday, a day after he was placed on one-week suspension over threatening comments he made to a Politico reporter [Carlos Barria/Reuters]

US President Joe Biden’s deputy press secretary has resigned after Vanity Fair reported that TJ Ducklo used derogatory language and issued threats against a female journalist who was reporting on Ducklo’s relationship with another reporter.

In a statement shared on Twitter late on Saturday, Ducklo – who had been temporarily suspended without pay – said he resigned from his position.

“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.”

Ducklo is the first official to leave the Biden administration since the new US president took office on January 20.

In its report on Friday, Vanity Fair said Ducklo threatened a female journalist working for Politico after she sought comment from him about his romantic relationship with an Axios political reporter. Ducklo reportedly told the Politico journalist, “I will destroy you.”

After the article was published, White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki announced Ducklo had been placed on one-week suspension without pay and would no longer be assigned to work with reporters from Politico.

A day later, Psaki said the White House had accepted Ducklo’s resignation.

“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,” Psaki said in a statement on Saturday evening.

On his first day in office, Biden told incoming administration staff during a swearing-in ceremony that “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 said.

Source: Al Jazeera and news agencies