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Biden Cabinet Member Resigns After Admitting To ‘Disrespectful’ Behavior Toward Colleagues

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


A top scientist has resigned from the administration of president Joe Biden citing “hurt” that he said he had caused.

Dr. Eric Lander, who served as director of the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP), resigned on Monday after a White House investigation found credible evidence that he harshly and disrespectfully spoke to colleagues in front of other colleagues,” Fox News reported.

“I am devastated that I caused hurt to past and present colleagues by the way in which I have spoken to them,” he said. “But it is clear that things I said, and the way I said them, crossed the line at times into being disrespectful and demeaning, to both men and women. That was never my intention. Nonetheless, it is my fault and my responsibility. I will take this lesson forward. I believe it is not possible to continue effectively in my role, and the work of this office is far too important to be hindered.”

An email he sent to colleagues, that was obtained by Fox News, showed that he had apologized to them for the way he spoke to them.

“The president accepted Dr. Eric Lander’s resignation letter this evening with gratitude for his work at OSTP on the pandemic, the Cancer Moonshot, climate change, and other key priorities,” White House press secretary Jen Psaki said. “He knows that Dr. Lander will continue to make important contributions to the scientific community in the years ahead.”

Reporters asked Psaki why the president had not fired him, as he promised he would fire anyone who behaved that way, on the day that he was sworn in as president.

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“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. On the spot. No ifs, ands or buts,” the president said.

“Okay.  So, regarding Dr. Lander, I wondered if he should have been reprimanded more strongly, given the President’s pledge on his first day in office to, you know, fire anybody who mistreated their employees,” the reporter said.

“Well, let me just give you an overview of what we have done to date.  And I know there may be more questions on this, of course, which we welcome,” The White House Press Secretary said.

“The President has been crystal clear with all of us about his high expectations of how he and his staff should be creating a respectful work environment.

“And one of the steps we took early on in the administration was to institute a Safe and Respectful Workplace Policy across the Executive Office of the President — something that was done early on,” she said.

“It was because of this policy and this process that when these — when the complaint was filed, a full and thorough investigation was conducted pursuant to that policy.

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“In addition, following the conclusion of the thorough investigation into these actions, senior White House officials conveyed directly to Dr. Lander that his behavior was inappropriate and the corrective actions that were needed, which were — which the White House will monitor for compliance moving forward,” she said.

“I’d also note that Dr. Lander also sent a message to his staff outlining some of the steps he’s intending to take to build a respectful work environment.  And certainly, we would encourage those.  And again, the team — the senior team will be watching for compliance to these steps,” she said.

“It looks like he’s had a history of, you know, possible mistreatment of his employees over a long period of time.  How can you be sure that this reprimand will stick?” the reporter pressed.

“Well, I would just reiterate, again, that — well, let me start with the first part of your question,” the press secretary said.

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“Each nominee undergoes a thorough vetting process as a part of their nomination and confirmation process.  And, of course, we look carefully to ensure each candidate’s suitability for the role they’re chosen for,” she argued.

“Dr. Lander’s record was thoroughly examined as a part of his confirmation, and he received bipartisan support, including final confirmation with a voice vote.

“But again, once we were made aware of the complaint, we launched a thorough investigation, and compliance with the recommendations is — will be — will be required in this regard,” she said.

The doctor resigned later that night.

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