In a decision that mirrors a distinct pattern of rhetoric versus reality, Joe Biden’s re-election campaign has hired T.J. Ducklo, a former White House deputy press secretary who resigned under the weight of controversy in 2021.
Ducklo was ousted following allegations of threatening then-POLITICO reporter Tara Palmeri over an investigative piece into his relationship with Axios reporter Alexi McCammond. As per reports, Ducklo allegedly told Palmeri in a conversation that he would “destroy her.” Despite the outcry that followed this revelation, Biden’s administration prided itself on promoting respect and merely suspended Ducklo. A day later, he resigned.
Here’s a report that covered Ducklo’s 2021 resignation:
This sequence of events starkly contradicts President Biden’s promise to his appointees on Inauguration Day. He said, “If you’re ever working with me and I hear you treat another colleague with disrespect, talk down to someone, I promise I will fire you on the spot, on the spot. No if, ands, or buts.”
This blatant deviation from his promised “decency and dignity” narrative should spark the interest of the corporate media but is likely to be yet another uncovered Biden story. The rehiring of Ducklo for the re-election campaign questions the authenticity of Biden’s public-facing principles, highlighting an apparent gap between the administration’s words and actions.
I think the headline should read : T.J. Ducklo, a former White House aide … who resigned in disgrace after threatening and harassing a female reporter … will join Biden’s re-election campaign….
— DavidFish555 (@DFishberg) June 16, 2023
Ducklo’s re-entry into the world of politics was anything but quiet. After his White House stint, he became the senior vice president of Risa Heller Communications, a renowned public relations firm known for managing controversies for high-profile clientele. He later assumed the role of chief communications officer and senior advisor to Nashville Mayor John Cooper (D). However, Ducklo’s propensity for controversy remained consistent, as evidenced by the condemnation of his behavior by several Metro City Council members.
— Councilman Russ Bradford aka Mr. ✈️ (@Bradford4D13) December 22, 2022
Despite the controversy surrounding Ducklo, senior Biden campaign officials have stood by him. Anita Dunn, who handled Ducklo’s initial White House departure, described Ducklo as a “valued friend in our community.”
However, it is difficult to ignore that his rehiring is an overt contradiction of the tone Biden set for his administration. It may even signal a willingness to downplay any actions perceived as disrespectful or threatening so long as an insider commits them.
The Democratic National Committee’s former national press secretary, Michael Tyler, and recently-departed White House office of digital strategy director, Rob Flaherty, joined the Biden campaign. Their recruitments indicate a strategic move to bolster the campaign’s communications. Still, it’s the inclusion of Ducklo that should capture the headlines.