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White House press aide resigns after issuing threats to journalist

The deputy press secretary for Joe Biden vacated his position after backlash erupted following threats he made to a journalist.

TJ Ducklo Chris Kleponis for The New York Times

After facing backlash, a press aide for the White House has resigned from his position the day after he was suspended for a week without pay.

On Saturday (Feb. 13), deputy press secretary TJ Ducklo submitted his resignation to the White House after he reportedly issued threats to journalist Tara Palmeri of Politico. In the statement he posted to Twitter, Ducklo gives details about his decision to leave the White House’s press team and takes responsibility for his actions towards Palmeri.

“I know this was terrible,” the former press aide said. “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.”

Ducklo issued threats to Palmeri in an attempt to kill a story about his relationship with Axios reporter Alexi McCammond. According to a report from Vanity Fair, the former press aide was contacted by a male reporter from Politico on Inauguration Day to investigate the potential conflict of interest while Palmeri got in touch with McCammond. Afterward, Ducklo contacted her rather than the male journalist who contacted him and threatened to “destroy” her career. He also accused Palmeri of being “jealous” of his relationship with McCammond and made other derogatory and misogynistic comments.

“We accepted the resignation of TJ Ducklo after a discussion with him this evening,” White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki 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.”

Ducklo and McCammond’s relationship began last year while he was Biden’s chief spokesperson and she was covering the Biden campaign. McCammond informed her employer of the relationship back in November, and she was reassigned to cover Vice President Harris.

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