When you’re a top White House press aide dating a reporter assigned to covering…the White House, it’s going to be a news story. Whether you think it’s legitimate or not is irrelevant. It’s going to be covered one way or another. This is Washington, D.C.— this sort of stuff is eaten up by these folks. It is what it is. So, when Politico reported that Axios reporter Alex McCammond was dating now-ex-Deputy Press Secretary TJ Ducklo, some drama happened.
McCammond first disclosed this relationship to her bosses in November. She was then reassigned, but last week, it was reported that Ducklo had gone after the reporter who disclosed this relationship in a nasty, sexist tirade that earned him an initial one-week suspension without pay. It’s a slap on the wrist. This is like giving a suspended jail sentence and a $500 fine for a double homicide. There was no saving Ducklo. His “profound” apology at first was anything but—and there was no wiggle room here. His boss sort of screwed him. Biden set the standard. Any behavior towards colleagues or others that isn’t respectful gets you fired on the spot. Remember those words? He tendered his resignation on Saturday (via WaPo):
Didn’t see this earlier: Psaki claimed Ducklo’s apology to Palmeri had been “profound,” but @oliverdarcy obtained a copy of the apology. It’s profoundly half assed. https://t.co/OfJxYbMrj5 pic.twitter.com/hM1idkkKdf— Olivia Nuzzi (@Olivianuzzi) February 13, 2021
So uh, who is running things? pic.twitter.com/ICX1hwczxo— Stephen L. Miller (@redsteeze) February 14, 2021
BREAKING: WH accepts resignation of TJ Ducklo.— Jenna Ellis (@JennaEllisEsq) February 14, 2021
For those keeping score, he lasted 1.5 Scaramuccis. pic.twitter.com/V2kZh9VwUa
The White House says TJ Ducklo has resigned. “We accepted the resignation of TJ Ducklo after a discussion with him this evening,” Jen Psaki says. Says it was with support from chief of staff and they are “committed to striving every day to meet the standard set by the President.”— Kaitlan Collins (@kaitlancollins) February 14, 2021
Deputy White House press secretary TJ Ducklo resigned Saturday amid fallout from a contentious phone call last month in which he berated and threatened a female reporter who was working on a story about a potential conflict of interest stemming from his personal life.
After details from the phone call emerged in news reports Friday, the White House found itself grappling with its first major test of President Biden’s promise to take seriously claims of abusive language and behavior, as well as to drastically shift the tone and culture of government after former president Donald Trump.
White House press secretary Jen Psaki had announced Friday that Ducklo would be suspended for a week without pay, but by Saturday, both senior White House advisers and Ducklo said they had reassessed the incident, leading to his resignation that night.
Ducklo issued another apology. For the Biden White House, it’s a humiliating chapter. This was supposed to be a new era—and it’s not. They had top press aides threatening reporters and using sexist language to boot. Wasn’t this supposed to be the anti-Trump administration in terms of character? In an ideal world, Democrats would have shrugged if Biden didn’t come out swinging regarding his standard. The nature of the attack also rallied the female reporters against Ducklo, and for good reason. This is an undeniably bad situation. For all the Left’s talk about white privilege, if Ducklo were to stay, it would be the ultimate exercise in that and that’s just not sustainable for a political movement that’s…all about unsustainable media narratives.
So, just remember that Ducklo is gone because too much narrative politics was at stake, not because it was the right thing for him and this administration to do.