White House deputy press secretary TJ Ducklo was placed on a one-week suspension after threatening a reporter who was working on a story about his romantic involvement with another reporter.
According to CNN, during a press briefing, White House press secretary Jen Psaki said the suspension was “an important step to send the message that we don’t find this acceptable.”
Ducklo has since apologized to the reporter—Politico’s Tara Palmeri. Following his suspension, he is no longer allowed to work with reporters from the news outlet.
On Tuesday, Palmeri reported that the deputy had a romantic relationship with Alexi McCammond, a reporter from Axios. McCammond confirmed their relationship in November and was “taken off the Biden beat.”
However, Palmeri addressed McCammond’s beats that featured Vice President Kamala Harris and pointed out that she gave glowing remarks on Biden following his inauguration, CNN reported.
Vanity Fair published its own story on the matter Friday, stating Ducklo threatened Palmeri for her piece and said he would “destroy her” if she published it. The outlet also said he made misogynistic comments to Palmeri and accused him of attacking her personal life and calling her “jealous” over his relationship with McCammond.
Psaki said that Ducklo has expressed “profound regret” in a note sent to Palmeri along with his apology.
“Last night on the phone with you I lost my temper in a way that was unprofessional, and I apologize for that. I should have done a better job at keeping my emotions in check during our conversation. It won’t happen again,” the note read.
Psaki said the White House has also apologized to politico for Ducklo’s behavior and said that “this will never happen again.”
Politico reporters were not pleased with Psaki’s response to the incident, two staffers told the news outlet.
“It feels like she is punishing us more than him,” one of the staffers said.
Politico Editor-in-Chief Matt Kaminski and Editor Carrie Budoff Brown also made a statement.
“No journalist at Politico —or any other publication or network — should ever be subjected to such unfounded personal attacks while doing their job,” they said. “Politico reporters and editors are committed to forging a professional and transparent relationship with public office holders and their staff and expect the same in return.”