Just weeks into the Biden administration, then-White House deputy press secretary T.J. Ducklo found himself in hot water over reports that he threatened a reporter who was working on a story about his clandestine relationship with an Axios reporter.
He allegedly told Tara Palmeri that he would “destroy” her for moving forward with the story.
Ducklo’s remarks were reportedly made on Inauguration Day, which was also when President Joe Biden proclaimed that he would fire a staffer “on the spot” for treating others with disrespect. When Palmeri came forward with the threat she received from a top White House spokesperson, however, the Biden administration’s initial reaction was to chastise her for exposing the contents of a conversation that was not on the record.
Nevertheless, public pressure surrounding the incident resulted in Ducklo’s resignation a short time later.
Despite the professional setback, he quickly landed a job as an executive for the Risa Heller Communications firm in New York. From there, he served as an adviser to Nashville Mayor John Cooper, but that stint also ended prematurely when members of the city council complained about his “unprofessional, undignified, and uncivil behavior.”
Now, he is once again working on behalf of Biden. After getting his start as the national press secretary for the 2020 campaign, Ducklo was recently confirmed as one of the latest additions to the president’s re-election campaign.
Former White House deputy press secretary T.J. Ducklo will join the Biden re-election campaign next month, three years after he resigned from his government post for threatening to “destroy” a female journalist. https://t.co/v6geDE9W2r
— Meet the Press (@MeetThePress) June 16, 2023
Other high-profile members of Biden’s 2024 communications team include ex-Democratic National Committee national press secretary Michael Tyler and former White House Office of Digital Strategy Director Rob Flaherty.
Although some critics of Ducklo’s behavior believe he does not deserve another prominent position in a national presidential campaign, Palmeri has expressed her willingness to forgive and forget.
In a post recounting his personal apology, she wrote that he appeared to be “genuinely sorry” for his behavior.
“Everyone has bad days and they shouldn’t have to pay for them for the rest of their lives,” she concluded, adding that there are “some people who deserve to be canceled, but T.J. Ducklo is not one of them.”
The Biden campaign, which is struggling to rally Democrats behind the incumbent candidate, apparently shares Palmeri’s assessment.