White House Deputy Press Secretary TJ Ducklo suspended after reportedly threatening to "destroy" a Politico reporter
- White House Deputy Press Secretary TJ Ducklo was suspended for one week without pay on Friday.
- Ducklo allegedly threatened Politico reporter Tara Palmeri in an off-the-record call.
- He reportedly told her “I will destroy you” and accused her of being motivated by romantic spite.
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The White House suspended a high ranking press aide on Friday after Vanity Fair reported on a heated phone call he had with a reporter.
TJ Ducklo, the White House deputy press secretary, allegedly told Politico’s Tara Palmeri that “I will destroy you” and accused her of being motivated by romantic spite when she was assigned to write about a relationship he began with an Axios reporter covering the Biden campaign and transition, according to Vanity Fair.
Ducklo reportedly told Palmeri he would ruin her reputation if Politico ran a piece about his relationship with Alexi McAmmond, an Axios political reporter who recently announced she would not be covering the Biden administration because of her romantic involvement with a White House official.
The 32-year-old press aide also reportedly told Palmeri she was only writing the story because she was “jealous” and that an unnamed man previously “wanted to f—” McCammond “and not you,” despite Palmeri having no prior encounters with McCammond before contacting her for the piece. According to Vanity Fair, editors had assigned Palmeri to cover the previously undisclosed relationship.
White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki announced Ducklo’s suspension shortly after the Vanity Fair article was published on Friday.
Psaki said Ducklo will go without pay for the one week suspension, and that he reached out to Palmeri to apologize.
Before Palmeri’s report ran in Politico Playbook, People ran a more rosy article on the relationship between Ducklo and McCammond.
Palmeri’s piece in Playbook painted a more complicated and less flattering picture, outlining examples of McCammond reporting on Biden after she had been together with Ducklo.
Back in December 2019, Ducklo announced he had stage four cancer.
In an interview with People, McCammond said Ducklo’s diagnosis was a factor in how she reconsidered her priorities when deciding whether to switch away from covering Biden.
“Switching beats was an easy decision thanks to my Axios [family], who had my back in November and know just how lovely it is to find someone who cares deeply about you,” McCammond said.
Ducklo did not respond to a request for comment Friday that Insider sent to his official White House email.
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