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Former Top Aide to Biden Confirms Reports Of WH Alleged Bullying, Sexual Harassment of Staff

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OPINION: This article may contain commentary which reflects the author's opinion.


President Joe Biden’s White House is struggling with a #MeToo crisis.

Members of President Biden’s inner circle and First Lady Jill Biden’s former colleagues are joining forces to support a top aide who was accused of sexual harassment, the New York Post noted.

“Nearly a dozen current and former colleagues of Anthony Bernal, an assistant to the president and top aide to the first lady, have alleged he has a long-running history of bullying and verbal sexual harassment, including speculating on the penis sizes of staffers in conversations, which one individual described as an attempt ‘to make people feel uncomfortable and have power over them,'” Fox News reported.

The anonymous employees stated to the New York Post that they came forward in the expectation that Bernal would be made to answer for his deeds. But because of his closeness to the first lady, some people were unconvinced and called him “untouchable.”

Regarding whether Bernal would be subject to an internal investigation into the situation, the White House and the First Lady’s office did not directly respond to Fox News Digital’s questions. To refute the accusations made by the staffers, Biden’s former and present inner circle members, as well as former Bernal colleagues, gave statements to Fox News defending his character.

“Anthony is one of the most generous, conscientious, and brilliant people working at the White House,” a White House official told Fox News Digital. “In the 20 years I’ve known him, I’ve never heard him to make comments like the ones alleged– in fact, he’s always been quite intentional and purposeful in making sure colleagues at every level feel valued and appreciated.”

“I’ve worked with Anthony for almost 30 years — and I’ve always seen him act with the utmost professionalism and compassion toward his team,” Biden’s former chief of staff, Ron Klain, told Fox News Digital.

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Many of Bernal’s previous coworkers supported him as well. He spent the first two years of Biden’s administration working with an ex-first lady’s office staff member, who expressed “a lot of respect for him as a leader and a colleague.”

“He has a good heart and always keeps the people we serve at the forefront of his decisions,” they said. “As one of the youngest staff in the office, he consistently asked for and valued my perspective and contributions.”

Bernal regularly supports colleagues “and pushes them to exceed their expectations to deliver extraordinary results,” according to a second person who claimed to have worked closely with him for nearly 30 years in both the public and private sectors.

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“All the while, he relentlessly exemplifies that family comes first, and the highest form of public service is to find more to give,” they added. “Anthony’s expectations are set high, but his grace is even higher. He is truly the epitome of a public servant-leader.”

Another colleague, who said they have known and worked with Bernal for over 15 years, said they have never heard him “utter an inappropriate word to anyone—ever.”

“The White House is a demanding workplace requiring the best efforts of all its employees, and Anthony’s leadership has helped me and many others maximize our abilities,” they said. “He challenged me to be better than I ever thought I could be, and as a result, I’m a far better person and co-worker because of that interaction.”

The New York Post revealed last week that among the charges against the openly gay Bernal was that he expressed to staff members the belief that a person’s thumb size is a good indicator of their penis size. He supposedly did this while serving in the White House today, in earlier capacities during the Biden campaign, and as Biden’s vice president.

“It is to make people uncomfortable and to have power over them,” one source told the Post. “It is Me Too – classic Me Too.”

“It was a lot of inappropriate remarks—talking about other people’s attractiveness and speculating about their sex lives at very weird moments,” the source told the Post. “That’s sexual harassment.”

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The sources also said that Bernal would routinely question people’s sexuality and attempt to pry into their personal lives.

Following the report, a former top Biden aide, who wished to remain anonymous, told Fox News Digital that the allegations within the Post’s report aligned with what they experienced while working in the administration.

“I’m surprised it has taken this long for so many staffers to speak out,” they said. “I wouldn’t be shocked if this empowered current and past staff to move forward.”

The former aide also believed “a dozen sources seem like enough to trigger that type of internal investigation.”

Biden, meanwhile, has said he would not tolerate such actions within his orbit.

“I am not joking when I say this: if you are ever working with me and I hear you treat another colleague with disrespect or talk down to someone, I promise you I will fire you on the spot,” Biden said on his first day in office. “On the spot. No ifs, and, or buts.”

The president’s chief of staff, Jeff Zeints, told the Post that he and the Bidens have “full confidence in Anthony’s character,” which was an oblique way of addressing the problem.

“His many fans at the White House know him to be both gracious and tough, holding himself up to the highest standards, with a heart dedicated to public service,” Zients said. “It is disappointing that he is the target of unfounded attacks from unnamed sources.”

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