President Joe Biden promised he wouldn’t tolerate disrespect and meanness in his administration. However, it seems this was another broken promise.
White House press secretary Jen Psaki evaded questions about Anthony Bernal, top aide to first lady Jill Biden who allegedly has been abusive to staff, according to the New York Post. An anonymous source said Bernal has a “mean streak” and has made co-workers cry.
Katie Rogers, a reporter for the New York Times, asked Psaki about the allegations Tuesday, stressing that “the report was based on anonymous sourcing.” Psaki didn’t take well to the question nor to the sourcing. “You know, it’s hard to look into anonymously sourced reports,” Psaki said. “I’m not aware of that being the intention.”
As with other leaks about the discord within the Biden administration, Politico broke the story about Bernal’s treatment of colleagues. Though he received glowing praises from the first lady herself, it seems the aide’s conduct was a problem to the people who worked with him.
Some staffers the publication interviewed were loyal to Bernal and it’s known that he’s protective of Jill Biden, which she appreciates. However, others claimed he was known to call people “stupid” and many around him say he’s “toxic” and “berating” in his unfiltered, harsh criticism of others that made staffers cry.
“He has a constituency of one and he’s very effective on her behalf,” an unnamed official told Politico. “The problem is that no one who has worked with him trusts him, and that’s not good for him or her.”
When Biden took office, he told his incoming staff that if he ever heard of mistreatment or disrespect among the ranks, he would fire them “on the spot.” However, he did not keep that promise when deputy White House press secretary T.J. Ducklo threatened a female reporter at Politico for outing a relationship he was having with Alexi McCammond, a reporter at Axios.
The Biden administration is apparently rife with drama and problems with people not getting along. It seems the culture inside the White House is just as divided as the one the president is overseeing outside — and it’s anyone’s guess who’s at fault for both.