White House Deputy Press Secretary TJ Ducklo holds a sheet of paper with names and headshots of reporters on it during a press conference at the White House in Washington on Feb. 8, 2021.
Carlos Barria | Reuters
TJ Ducklo, the former deputy press secretary for President Joe Biden, joins an influential public relations and crisis communications firm months after he left the White House for allegedly threatening to destroy a reporter’s career.
Ducklo now works for Risa Heller Communications, which is operated by its namesake Risa Heller. She was once the communications director for Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, DN.Y., and worked for former New York Governor David Paterson.
She confirmed the attitude towards the political newsletter Punchbowl News.
“Like all of us, he made mistakes, faced the consequences and learned from them,” she told the outlet that published the announcement on Wednesday morning. “We are incredibly excited to have him on our team, where he is already leading high-profile crisis and emissions engagements in NY, LA and around the world and becoming a trusted advisor to corporate leaders.”
Heller didn’t respond to requests for comment Tuesday after CNBC asked if their company had discontinued Ducklo.
According to the company’s website, Ducklo started working there in June.
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According to Buzzfeed, Heller also worked for Ivanka Trump, the daughter of former President Donald Trump.
Ducklo, who has lung cancer, was briefly suspended from his post in the White House before resigning because he reportedly told a reporter, “I will destroy you”. He also reportedly made derogatory and misogynistic comments to the reporter, who is a woman.
He apologized after the reported incident in February.
People who first told CNBC about Ducklo’s new employer prior to the Punchbowl announcement declined to be named to speak freely about an unannounced hiring.
The Heller office specializes in corporate and crisis communication, runs campaigns for non-profit organizations and supports issues such as issue advocacy and regulatory affairs. With its connections to Biden and administration, Ducklo could be of service to Heller’s customers on the regulatory front.
Ducklo and Heller did not return repeated requests for comment, and in particular did not deny anything CNBC asked them about the former White House deputy press secretary.
Many of the company’s other executives come from a variety of backgrounds, including previous roles at Fox News, the New York Post, and Senator Amy Klobuchar’s office.
Few of the employees listed on the Heller website have previous connections with Biden. Crains New York reports that Heller’s company represents marquee clients such as Major League Soccer’s New York City FC, Airbnb and the Metropolitan Opera.
Before Ducklo left the Biden administration, he was known as one of the president’s closest communications advisors. He was previously Biden’s campaign spokesman.
Ducklo also has experience outside of politics, including serving as communications director for NBC News.