WH Official Threatened Reporter on the history of his relationship, accused them of sexual jealousy
A White House official threatened Politico reporter Tara Palmeri after following a story about the official’s relationship with another reporter at Axios, Vanity Fair revealed on Friday. Palmeri reached out to Axios reporter Alexi McCammond on January 20 for comment on McCammond’s relationship with new assistant secretary, TJ Ducklo. A male Politico reporter reached out to Ducklo for comment, but Ducklo subsequently called Palmeri and in a confidential conversation threatened to ruin her reputation if the story were published. “I will destroy you,” Ducklo said to Palmeri, sources familiar with the incident reported to Vanity Fair. Ducklo then accused Palmeri of being “jealous” that an unidentified man wanted to “fuck” “McCammond” and not you, and also claimed that Palmeri was “jealous” of his own relationship with McCammond. The altercation sparked talks between senior Politico officials and White House officials, including press secretary Jen Psaki, communications director Kate Bedingfield and advisor Anita Dunn. Senior White House officials admitted Ducklo’s behavior was inappropriate, but also accused Palmeri of breaking her agreement with Ducklo to speak confidentially. Ducklo sent Palmeri a general apology for losing his temper. Psaki announced on Friday, a few hours after the Vanity Fair story was posted, that Ducklo would be suspended for a week without pay. “In addition to his initial apology [Ducklo] sent [Palmeri] a personal note that expresses his deep regret, “said Psaki in a statement. “He was suspended for a week without pay. Also, when he returns, he will no longer have to work with reporters at Politico. “On January 21, the day after Ducklo’s argument with Palmeri, President Biden told political officials at a virtual swearing-in ceremony,” If you ever work with me and I hear you treat another colleague with disrespect, speak to someone , I’ll fire you on the spot. No ifs and buts. “The relationship between Ducklo and McCammond was featured in People magazine earlier this week. The People story fell hours after Politico asked the White House for comment on the relationship – a chain of events that was later recorded in Politico’s playbook. The Biden administration has promised to change the Trump administration’s often controversial relationship with the media. Various reporters expressed disappointment with Ducklo’s comments after the report was released. “I took a lot of flak from Donald Trump and his subordinates for my reporting: legal threats, attribution, physical removal of campaign events. I don’t remember personally encountering anything as malicious as the call described here, ”said Politico’s national correspondent, Ben Schreckinger, on Twitter.