This article contains commentary which reflects the author's opinion
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It is a sad start to a new presidential administration when, less than one month in, you are embroiled in a scandal that leads to the departure of one of your top people.
That is the precarious position the administration of President Joe Biden finds itself in after White House Deputy Press Secretary TJ Ducklo resigned, The Daily Mail reported.
Ducklo was in a position where he had to resign after he threatened a reporter who was doing an investigation on an alleged affair he was having with another reporter.
“I am devastated to have embarrassed and disappointed my White House colleagues and President Biden, and after a discussion with White House communications leadership tonight, I resigned my position and will not be returning from administrative leave,” he said on Saturday.
“No words can express my regret, my embarrassment, and my disgust for my behavior. 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,” the former deputy press secretary said.
According to a report published by Vanity Fair on Friday, Ducklo threatened reporter Tara Palmeri saying, among other things, “I will destroy you” for reporting on his secret romance with Axios reporter Alexi McCammond.
“’It was language that was abhorrent, disrespectful, and unacceptable,” he said.
“I know this was terrible. I know I can’t take it back. But I also know I can learn from it and do better, This incident is not representative of who I am as a person, and I will be determined to earn back the trust of everyone I have let down because of my intolerable actions,” he said.
The White House confirmed Ducklo’s departure in a statement of its own.
“We accepted the resignation of TJ Ducklo after a discussion with him this evening,” it said.
“This conversation occurred with the support of the White House Chief of Staff. 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,” it said.
But how? How as Ducklo able to resign, after only being suspended for one week with no pay, in an administration that vowed that it would have a zero-tolerance policy for this type of behavior?
“Apparently members of the media don’t merit the same protections from Biden as his colleagues do,” Washington Post media critic Erik Wemple said.
“No journalist at Politico —or any other publication or network — should ever be subjected to such unfounded personal attacks while doing their job,” Politico editors Matt Kaminski and Carrie Budoff Brown said.
When asked why Ducklo had not been fired immediately, White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki avoided answering the question directly.
“It doesn’t meet our standard, it doesn’t meet the president’s standard,” she said.
“It was important that we took a step to make that clear and that included not just an apology directly from him and apologies directly from us at the highest levels there, but also a step to suspend him for one week without pay,” the press secretary insisted.
“That, in our view, was an important step to send the message that we don’t find it acceptable,” she said.