On Friday - almost a month after the phone call had taken place - White House Press Secretary Jenn Psaki said Ducklo had been placed on a "one-week suspension without pay" and will no longer be assigned to work with any Politico reporters when he returns. "I'm a woman, obviously, but I've been in this town working in press and communications for almost 20 years, and I think many of you know and have worked with me closely", Psaki said, "and many of you know many people in this building, including the president, who take these allegations quite seriously".
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".
The story, which has now been reported, was of Biden's Deputy Press Secretary TJ Ducklo dating Axios political reporter Alexi McCammond, who covered the Biden campaign and is still on the vice president's beat. "He is the first to acknowledge this is not the standard of behavior set out by the President".
In addition to being suspended for one week, she said he will no longer work with any reporters at Politico in his duties at the White House.
During the White House daily press briefing, Psaki was confronted by a reporter who asked whether the minimal action taken against Ducklo directly contradicts what Biden pledged on January 20.
When asked at the press briefing how Ducklo could continue to work with female reporters, given the misogynistic nature of some of his comments, Psaki agreed they were "completely unacceptable" and said that she has had "conversations with him about that".
White House spokeswoman Jen Psaki has further inflamed the row over one of her subordinates' foul-mouthed threats to a reporter for doing her job.
"Everybody is entitled to be treated with decency and dignity", Biden said. "No if, ands, or buts".
At that point, Ducklo called Palmeri instead of her colleague, and allegedly during this phone conversation he attempted to intimidate and threaten her by claiming he would ruin her reputation. She said the reporter was "right", but noted that the White House had believed it was "appropriate at the time" to engage privately with Politico "immediately after the conversation occurred". Ducklo did not respond to a request for comment Friday and Palmeri declined to comment. I'm not aware of a history of that step being taken; you all can check me on that.
"It feels like she is punishing us more than him", one of the staffers said, noting that her solution is for Politico reporters to lose access to one of the highest ranking officials in the White House communications department. "That in our view. was an important to step send the message that we don't find it acceptable".