White House suspends deputy press secretary for threatening journalist

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White House Deputy Press Secretary TJ 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 Friday that Ducklo’s conduct was “completely unacceptable.” Psaki said while she had not spoken about the incident with President Joe Biden, Ducklo and aides “at the highest levels” of the White House’s communications team had apologized for the incident.

“No one wants anyone to feel uncomfortable, to be put in an uncomfortable position,” Psaki said.

Psaki said in a statement earlier 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 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.”

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