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Biden Accused of Violating Campaign Promise as Report of Top White House Official's Rampant Bullying Surfaces

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A new report claims that in spite of President Joe Biden’s promise that the Biden administration would be tough on bullying, the president’s top science adviser has been getting away with it.

The report in Politico focuses on Cabinet member and director of the Office of Science and Technology Policy Eric Lander. The report said it is based upon interviews and an audio recording shared with the site, as well as the conclusions of an internal White House investigation.

Biden swaggered into office saying that anyone in his administration who bullies lower-level staffers would be fired “on the spot. No ifs, ands or buts.”

Politico said that according to a recording of a briefing that took place in January and discussed the investigation, Lander acted in a “bullying” manner toward then-general counsel, Rachel Wallace.

The recording included a comment from Christian Peele, the White House’s deputy director of management and administration for personnel, saying that the probe found “credible evidence of disrespectful interactions with staff by Dr. Lander and OSTP leadership,” Politico reported.

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“The investigation found credible evidence of instances of multiple women having complained to other staff about negative interactions with Dr. Lander, where he spoke to them in a demeaning or abrasive way in front of other staff,” Peele said in the recording.

Lander did not speak to Politico. However, the site said that he emailed his staff concerning his conduct.

“I am deeply sorry for my conduct. I especially want to apologize to those of you who I treated poorly or were present at the time,” he wrote. “It’s my responsibility to set a respectful tone for our community. It’s clear that I have not lived up to this responsibility. I have spoken to colleagues within OSTP in a disrespectful or demeaning way.”

A White House statement said that “a full and thorough investigation was conducted” and “White House leadership met with Dr. Lander to discuss the seriousness of the matter and the president’s expectation that all staff interactions be conducted with respect.”

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“The investigation found credible evidence of violations of the EOP’s Safe and Respectful Workplace Policy, and corrective action was taken consistent with those findings,” the Office of Science and Technology Policy said in a statement.

Lander “retaliated against staff for speaking out and asking questions by calling them names, disparaging them, embarrassing them in front of their peers, laughing at them, shunning them, taking away their duties and replacing them or driving them out of the agency. Numerous women have been left in tears, traumatized and feeling vulnerable and isolated,” Wallace said to Politico.

“Lander’s apology did not come close to addressing the full extent of his egregious behavior,” she continued.

“He did so much more than speak to staff in a ‘disrespectful or demeaning way.’”

“Lander’s apology was not only disingenuous. It compounded the deep hurt and damage he has caused by ignoring these other acts of aggression, harassment and retaliation,” she added.

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The OSTP said the “investigation did not find credible evidence of gender-based discrimination.”

Politico spoke to what it said were staffers in Lander’s office who thought he deserved to be fired — or at least punished more severely. Politico did not use the names of those it quoted.

One staffer said Lander “has a bit of Jekyll and Hyde personality. If he’s in a meeting with external people, he’s positive and ebullient, even. It’s behind closed doors that he changes.”

“There are a lot of brilliant people in this country. I completely reject the notion that his brilliance is so singular and critical to the nation that his behavior is excusable,” the employee said.

“Mr. President, please protect the dignity and well-being of our staff by standing by your zero-tolerance policy,” a second employee pleaded.

“The Joe Biden I voted for would never knowingly empower an aggressor like Lander who openly targets women by publicly humiliating, infantilizing and intimidating them into submission.”

“But Lander seems to know he’s protected. The most terrifying part about him is the open and brazen way he conducts his abuse. After repeatedly insulting and humiliating me in front of colleagues, Lander acknowledged his inability to control himself, telling me ‘I hate that I do it,’” the staffer explained.

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Jack Davis is a freelance writer who joined The Western Journal in July 2015 and chronicled the campaign that saw President Donald Trump elected. Since then, he has written extensively for The Western Journal on the Trump administration as well as foreign policy and military issues.
Jack Davis is a freelance writer who joined The Western Journal in July 2015 and chronicled the campaign that saw President Donald Trump elected. Since then, he has written extensively for The Western Journal on the Trump administration as well as foreign policy and military issues.
Jack can be reached at jackwritings1@gmail.com.
Location
New York City
Languages Spoken
English
Topics of Expertise
Politics, Foreign Policy, Military & Defense Issues




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