The White House suspended a vice spokesman for a week after allegedly threatening a journalist in an argument. His behavior was “totally unacceptable” and he knew it, said White House spokeswoman Jen Psaki.
The punishment followed an article in the Vanity Fair. It said that the vice-spokesman TJ Ducklo had threatened a reporter from the portal “Politico” to “destroy” her and destroy her reputation. In addition, Ducklo is said to have made derogatory and misogynistic comments and used vulgar expressions.
The journalist had asked questions about Ducklo’s relationship with a reporter on the Axios website.
Psaki stated that Ducklo had apologized to the reporter “with whom he had a heated conversation about his private life.” He had expressed his “deep regret” to the journalist and knew that he had violated the rules of conduct established by the president.
Psaki was also reminded of Biden’s announcement at her press conference that he would fire anyone who was disrespectful to his colleagues on the spot. “We found it was a serious punishment,” said Psaki. Accordingly, Ducklo will not be paid during his suspension. She made the decision in consultation with Biden’s chief of staff, Ron Klain, and did not speak to the president about it, said Psaki.
The suspension raised questions in Washington. After the former President Donald Trump had frequently insulted the media as “enemies of the people”, the administration of his successor Joe Biden promised a professional approach to the press.
Trump wore out three press spokesmen during his time in the White House. Sean Spicer, Sarah Huckabee Sanders and Stephanie Gishram resigned, before Kayleigh McEnany led the press rounds until the handover to Biden. Spicer had already clashed with journalists at his first press conference and left office after only 182 days.