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Press Flack for ‘Zero-Tolerance’ Biden Suspended for Threatening Reporter

PSAKI: T.J. Ducklo 'is the first to acknowledge this is not the standard of behavior set out' by President Biden...

(Headline USA) White House deputy press secretary T.J. Ducklo has been suspended for a week without pay after he reportedly issued a sexist and profane threat to a journalist seeking to cover his relationship with another reporter.

White House press secretary Jen Psaki said in a statement Friday that Ducklo had been suspended without pay, with the approval of White House chief of staff Ron Klain.

The wrist-slap appears to contradict the standard of conduct President Joe Biden said he would expect from his staff in comments he made during a virtual swearing-in with staff the day he was sworn in.

“I’m not joking when I say this: If you ever work with me and I hear you treat another colleague with disrespect, talk down to someone, I will fire you on the spot,” he said that day. “No ifs, ands or buts.”

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She said Ducklo “is the first to acknowledge this is not the standard of behavior set out” by Biden, and that Ducklo had sent the reporter in question “a personal note professing his profound regret.”

Ducklo’s personal life came under scrutiny earlier this week when Politico reported on his relationship with a reporter for the news outlet Axios who was assigned to cover the Biden campaign and its transition.

Before Politico broke the story Tuesday, People Magazine published a glowing profile of the relationship.

It was the first time either one had publicly acknowledged the relationship.

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On Friday, Vanity Fair published a report citing two unnamed sources that Ducklo had threatened the Politico reporter to try to suppress the story, telling her “I will destroy you.”

Psaki, White House communications director Kate Bedingfield and Anita Dunn, director of West Wing operations, were all reportedly involved in conversations with Politico editors about the incident.

Psaki said in her statement that when Ducklo returns, he won’t be assigned to work with any Politico reporters.

Despite his public claims to the contrary, Biden has been known to make verbal threats or promote violence during his political career.

In 2016 and 2018 he said he’d like to take former President Donald Trump “behind the gym,” the second time adding he wanted to “beat the hell out of him.”

The Biden White House claims it has sought to strike a more cordial and professional tone with the Washington press corps after criticisms of the Trump administration’s adversarial relationship with the legacy media.

On her first day behind the podium, Psaki told reporters, “I have deep respect for the role of a free and independent press in our democracy and for the role all of you play.”

“There will be moments when we disagree,” Psaki added, “but we have a common goal, which is sharing accurate information with the American people.”

Adapted from reporting by Associated Press.

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