In the tradition of Democratic completely empty symbolism, Jill Biden put out hearts on the White House lawn with words like “love” and “unity.”
Compassion and kindness is back https://t.co/vibvRrCCMr
— Jen Psaki (@PressSec) February 12, 2021
But methinks this “unity” offensive is trying to detract from a story that shows the Biden folks failed the unity test and are far from “loving.”
According to Vanity Fair, Biden White House communications aide T.J. Ducklo threatened to “destroy” Politico’s Tara Palmeri for reporting on his relationship with an Axios reporter, Alexi McCammond, who covered the Joe Biden campaign, an obvious conflict. This is wild.
The confrontation began on Inauguration Day, January 20, after Palmeri, a coauthor of Politico’s Playbook, contacted McCammond for comment while one of her male colleagues left a message for Ducklo, according to the sources. Ducklo subsequently called a Playbook editor to object to the story, but was told to call the Playbook reporters with his concerns. But instead of calling the male reporter who initially contacted him, Ducklo tried to intimidate Palmeri by phone in an effort to kill the story. “I will destroy you,” Ducklo told her, according to the sources, adding that he would ruin her reputation if she published it.
During the off-the-record call, Ducklo made derogatory and misogynistic comments, accusing Palmeri of only reporting on his relationship—which, due to the ethics questions that factor into the relationship between a journalist and White House official, falls under the purview of her reporting beat—because she was “jealous” that an unidentified man in the past had “wanted to fuck” McCammond “and not you.” Ducklo also accused Palmeri of being “jealous” of his relationship with McCammond. (Palmeri had no prior relationship or communication with McCammond before calling her to report on the Playbook item, which was a story that she was assigned and had not independently pursued.)
The “loving” Biden team thinks they can just stomp all over reporters and tell them what to do. Obviously they do that with the expectation that reporters will comply, making it clear that likely many do. But not these folks, to their credit.
Imagine if the Trump team had talked to a reporter that way, much less a female reporter like this.
Not to mention that it’s a pretty big story, as we reported, that Axios has a reporter covering Biden who’s in a relationship with a Biden official. Talk about cozy ties with the Biden administration.
It also looks like the Obama bros were trying to attack Palmieri at about the same time. Funny the timing.
Worth noting that these threats from TJ happened around the same time as Obama bros were all raging against @tarapalmeri for talking about the White House not calling on certain reporters. https://t.co/NEZ921XGUu
— Matt Whitlock (@mattdizwhitlock) February 12, 2021
Remember that on Jan. 20, the day the reign of confusion began, Joe Biden promised how he was going to deal with alleged harassment? “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, Biden claimed. “No ifs, ands or buts.”
Biden 3 weeks ago: "If you’re ever working with me and I hear you treat another colleague with disrespect, talk down to someone, I promise you I will fire you on the spot, on the spot. No if, ands, or buts. Everybody — everybody is entitled to be treated with decency & dignity." pic.twitter.com/0QDHnyU3Jo
— Tom Elliott (@tomselliott) February 12, 2021
So how are they dealing with this alleged threat to the reporter? Has Ducklo been shown the door? Did Biden fire him on the spot?
Of course not. Sounds like there are some “buts” coming. When Politico reached out to the Biden team for response as to what they were going to do about the threats and the sexually harassing nature of Ducklo’s alleged comment, the Biden team’s response was hardly up to that standard Biden claimed. Jen Psaki said Ducklo would apologize and then issued the following statement.
“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. In addition to his initial apology, he has sent the reporter a personal note expressing his profound regret. With the approval of the White House Chief of Staff, he has been placed on a one-week suspension without pay. In addition, when he returns, he will no longer be assigned to work with any reporters at Politico.”
Oh. First, notice they didn’t deny anything he said, but they also don’t apologize specifically, just calling it a “heated conversation about his personal life.” No, he allegedly threatened a reporter and used sexual language with her. If you’re not denying it was said, then don’t try to minimize it by just calling it a ‘heated conversation.’
Bottom line, it’s now become more than about just Ducklo if Biden doesn’t fire him. Because once again, it’s about Biden breaking yet another promise (how many is that at this point?) and once again not living up to his words. And scary that they think that threatening people is acceptable behavior.
But hey, Jill put out cardboard on the White House lawn, so they care!