White House spokesman suspended for ‘threatening reporter’

A White House spokesman, T.J. Ducklo, has been suspended for a week without pay after he allegedly threatened to “destroy” a female reporter who was asking questions about his private life.

Ducklo reportedly threatened Politico reporter Tara Palmeri, who was investigating his relationship with another journalist, the BBC reported.

White House press secretary Jen Pskai said on Friday that Ducklo had apologised to Palmeri.

He has not commented independently.

Some observers have criticised US President Joe Biden for failing to take stronger action. He has previously said he would fire “on the spot” any staff speaking disrespectfully to colleagues.

The suspension of Ducklo, the White House deputy press secretary, came after Vanity Fair magazine reported on his alleged threats to Palmeri.

The Politico reporter had been investigating Ducklo’s relationship with Alexi McCammond, a journalist with Axios who had covered Biden’s election campaign.

He allegedly rang her and said: “I will destroy you”. He also made other derogatory and misogynistic comments, Vanity Fair reported, according to the BBC.

President Biden’s spokeswoman tweeted on Friday that Ducklo was “the first to acknowledge this is not the standard of behaviour set out by the President”.

Biden told his staff on his first day in office that he would not tolerate bullying behaviour.

“I’m not joking when I say this: 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,” he said.