TJ Ducklo gets new job at PR firm after leaving White House amid scandal


White House Deputy Press Secretary TJ Ducklo holds a sheet of paper with the names and portraits of reporters during a White House press briefing in Washington on February 8, 2021.

Carlos Barria | Reuters

TJ Ducklo, former White House deputy to President Joe Biden, begins working for an influential PR and crisis communications firm, months after leaving the White House for threatening to destroy the career of a journalist.

Ducklo now works for Risa Heller Communications, which is headed by its namesake, Risa Heller. She was formerly the communications director for Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, DN.Y., and worked for former New York Gov. David Paterson.

She confirmed the hiring to the political bulletin Punchbowl News.

“Like all of us, he made mistakes, paid the consequences and learned from them,” she told the media outlet, which published the announcement Wednesday morning. “We are incredibly excited to have him on our team where he is already leading high-level crises and engagements in New York, LA and around the world, and becomes a trusted advisor to business leaders.”

Heller did not respond to requests for comment on Tuesday after CNBC asked if his company hired Ducklo.

According to the company’s website, Ducklo started working there in June.

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Heller also worked for former President Donald Trump’s daughter Ivanka Trump, according to Buzzfeed.

Ducklo, who has lung cancer, was briefly suspended from his White House post before resigning because he allegedly told a reporter “I’m going to destroy you”. He also allegedly made derogatory and misogynistic comments to the journalist, who is female.

He apologized after the incident reported in February.

People who first spoke to CNBC about Ducklo’s new employer, before the Punchbowl announcement, declined to be named in order to speak freely about a hiring that had not yet been announced.

Heller’s office specializes in corporate and crisis communications, leading campaigns for nonprofit organizations, as well as helping with issue advocacy and regulatory affairs, among others. With his ties to Biden and the administration, Ducklo could be of regulatory help to Heller’s clients.

Ducklo and Heller did not return repeated requests for comment, including not denying anything CNBC asked them about the former White House deputy press secretary.

Many of the company’s other executives come from a wide variety of backgrounds, including previous stints at Fox News, the New York Post, and in the office of Senator Amy Klobuchar.

Few of the employees listed on Heller’s website have previous ties to Biden. Fears New York reports that Heller’s company represents high profile clients such as Major League Soccer New York City FC, Airbnb and the Metropolitan Opera.

Before Ducklo left the Biden administration, he was known to be one of the president’s closest communications advisers. He was previously Biden’s chief campaign spokesperson.

Ducklo also has experience outside of politics, most notably as director of communications for NBC News.


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