An internal investigation revealed that Eric Lander was a senior science advisor to President Biden and had bullied subordinates. This created hostile working conditions.
Lander, who held a cabinet-level position, was found to have engaged in “credible evidence of disrespectful interactions with staff.”
Politico reports that several employees, both current and former, said he had “repeatedly bullied and demeaned staffers” and that “some employees felt humiliated and disrespected.”
Lander also violated White House conduct policies, according to the review.
Lander quit despite Biden’s support.
Eric Lander, President Joe Biden’s top science adviser, bullied subordinates and created a hostile work environment, a White House investigation finds https://t.co/8SLukAPv1z
— Bloomberg (@business) February 7, 2022
RELATED: Biden Calls Fox News Reporter ‘Stupid Son of a B*tch’ At Press Conference
Biden’s Science Adviser is a Bully
Eric Lander sent an email to his staff apologizing for Friday’s behavior.
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“It’s my responsibility to set a respectful tone for our community,” he wrote. “It’s clear that I have not lived up to this responsibility.”
Lander insisted he was “deeply sorry” for his conduct and vowed to implement new policies to improve the office climate.
Lander’s behavior is not only a violation of conduct policies, they are a violation of President Biden’s first-day promise to the media, a day when journalists across the nation were celebrating a return to decency.
“I’m not joking when I say this: If you’re ever working with me and I hear you treat another with disrespect, talk down to someone, I promise you I will fire you on the spot,” Biden said at the time.
“On the spot. No ifs, ands, or buts.”
Biden stood behind Lander, despite this claim.
“[If] I hear you treat another colleague with disrespect, talk down to someone, I promise I will fire you on the spot”
Speaking to White House staff, President Joe Biden says dignity has been “missing” these past four years https://t.co/rkHtZRRNH2 pic.twitter.com/dpfzB8Ztto
— BBC News (World) (@BBCWorld) January 20, 2021
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The White House stood by Eric Lander, but he was forced to resign
Despite these policies on conduct, the White House initially stood by Biden’s top science adviser.
White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki instead insisted that those policies helped identify a problem and would help correct Lander’s behavior going forward.
“It is because of those comments that he (Biden) made early on, in part, that we put in place a safe and respectful workplace policy that was the mechanism for which this thorough investigation went forward,” she said.
Lander, however, decided to resign Monday evening because the disconnect was too evident.
“The President accepted Dr. Eric Lander’s resignation letter this evening with gratitude for his work at OSTP on the pandemic, the Cancer Moonshot, climate change, and other key priorities,” Psaki said in a statement.
“He knows that Dr. Lander will continue to make important contributions to the scientific community in the years ahead.”
President Biden’s top science adviser Dr. Eric Lander resigns over treatment of staff https://t.co/etEM68tp67 pic.twitter.com/pkNog6aZ0t
— New York Post (@nypost) February 8, 2022
It is the second failure by the President to keep his word on firing those who disrespect others within his government.
TJ Ducklo, Biden’s former deputy White House press secretary, told a female reporter, “I will destroy you,” and reportedly made derogatory and misogynistic comments to her.
Ducklo was handed a one-week suspension rather than being fired ‘on the spot.’
He too, like Biden’s top science adviser, would eventually resign.
Statement of resignation from the White House pic.twitter.com/3Jpiiv75vB
— TJ Ducklo (@TDucklo) February 14, 2021
President Biden himself seemed to be in violation of his own policy on conduct and respect late last month when he called Fox News reporter Peter Doocy a “stupid son of a bitch.”
Biden later called Doocy to “clear the air” and said his comments were “nothing personal,” encouraging him to “continue asking about different topics than the rest of the press corps.”
He refused to shoot himself at the moment.