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White House deputy press secretary Ducklo suspended for 'heated conversation' with female reporter

The exchange was reportedly about Ducklo dating a national politics reporter for Axios.

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White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki
White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki
(Chip Somodevilla/Getty)
Updated: February 12, 2021 - 3:05pm

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White House deputy press secretary T.J. Ducklo has been suspended after making offensive remarks to a female reporter.

Ducklo made "derogatory and misogynistic" comments about two weeks ago to Politico reporter Tara Palmeri when she asked about his romantic relationship with Axios reporter Alexi McCammond, according to Vanity Fair.

Ducklo purportedly vowed in an off-the-record call to "destroy" Palmeri and claimed she only wanted to ask about McCammond because she was jealous of her over a past matter.

Ducklo has purportedly apologized to Palmeri, but White House officials say Palmeri broke an off-the-record agreement with Ducklo. 

The White House acknowledged Friday that Ducklo had been suspended for a week without pay and that he would no longer work with Politico.

"TJ Ducklo has apologized to the reporter, with whom he had a heated conversation about his personal life. He is the first to acknowledge this is not the standard of behavior set out by the President," White House press secretary Jen Psaki tweeted. 

The punishment has resulted in criticism toward President Biden who said last month when swearing in appointees that he would immediately fire anybody working with him if he heard them "treat another colleague with disrespect, talk down to someone."

"I promise you I will fire you on the spot," Biden said. "No ifs, ands or buts."

"President Biden received adulatory coverage from the media when he claimed he had zero tolerance for disrespectful behavior from his employees. Was that true? Has TJ Ducklo been fired yet?" tweeted Molly Hemmingway, a senior editor at the conservative-leaning web magazine The Federalist. 

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