TJ Ducklo submitted his resignation as White House deputy press secretary Saturday amid allegations that he sexually harassed and threatened a female reporter.
“No words can express my regret, my embarrassment, and my disgust for my behavior,” Ducklo began in a statement. “I used language that no women should ever have to hear from anyone, especially in a situation where she was just trying to do her job. It was language that was abhorrent, disrespectful, and unacceptable.”
“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,” Ducklo continued.
“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,” Ducklo concluded.
My statement on resigning from the White House. pic.twitter.com/3Jpiiv75vB
— TJ Ducklo (@TDucklo) February 14, 2021
Ducklo’s resignation comes a day after he was suspended following a Vanity Fair story about Ducklo’s alleged sexist, profane tirade against a female Politico reporter, in which he reportedly threatened to “destroy” her if she published a story about his relationship with another reporter.
As Vanity Fair reported:
The confrontation began on Inauguration Day, January 20, after Palmeri, a coauthor of Politico’s Playbook, contacted McCammond for comment while one of her male colleagues left a message for Ducklo, according to the sources. Ducklo subsequently called a Playbook editor to object to the story, but was told to call the Playbook reporters with his concerns. But instead of calling the male reporter who initially contacted him, Ducklo tried to intimidate Palmeri by phone in an effort to kill the story. “I will destroy you,” Ducklo told her, according to the sources, adding that he would ruin her reputation if she published it.
During the off-the-record call, Ducklo made derogatory and misogynistic comments, accusing Palmeri of only reporting on his relationship—which, due to the ethics questions that factor into the relationship between a journalist and White House official, falls under the purview of her reporting beat—because she was “jealous” that an unidentified man in the past had “wanted to [f***]” McCammond “and not you.” Ducklo also accused Palmeri of being “jealous” of his relationship with McCammond.
Vanity Fair also claimed that multiple senior-level White House officials acknowledged at the time that Ducklo’s behavior was “inappropriate,” though he was not suspended until the story dropped on Feb. 12.
White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki also issued a statement on Saturday, explaining that she accepted Ducklo’s resignation after a discussion with him. “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,” Psaki said in part.
Joe Concha, a media reporter for The Hill, derided Psaki’s statement, tweeting, “Psaki, along with senior aide Anita Dunn, was made aware of Ducklo’s sexist tirade on Jan. 21. Only after the Vanity Fair story on Feb 12 did Psaki/the administration act because they had to. Without the VF story, nothing happens here. This accountably statement is laughable.”
Psaki, along with senior aide Anita Dunn, was made aware of Ducklo’s sexist tirade on Jan. 21. Only after the Vanity Fair story on Feb 12 did Psaki/the administration act because they had to. Without the VF story, nothing happens here. This accountably statement is laughable.
— Joe Concha (@JoeConchaTV) February 14, 2021