Axios’s Alexi McCammond, a journalist focused on covering Joe Biden’s campaign in 2019 and 2020 who still writes about the new administration, is dating the president’s former transition spokesman and now White House deputy press secretary TJ Ducklo.
Politico shared the potential conflict of interest in Tuesday morning’s edition of “Playbook” after weeks of investigations and inquiries to the White House about the relationship. Mere hours after Politico claims to have notified the Biden communications staff that the story fully exposing the relationship would be published the next day, People Magazine produced a “glowing profile” piece positively framing the couple’s relationship and careers.
People did not respond to The Federalist’s questions about why they suddenly chose to run the story.
Reporter Forgoes Covering President as Romance Blossoms with Biden Aide Battling Cancer: ‘Didn’t Think Twice’ https://t.co/tU8ArO3HAS
— People (@people) February 9, 2021
According to People, the couple began dating in November after working closely for months on the campaign trail. Both People and Politico report that it was at this time that McCammond, who was previously engaged to another man, “asked to be taken off of the Biden beat” and shifted to covering progressive politics and Vice President Kamala Harris instead for Axios. Even though McCammond and Axios claim the journalist quickly switched reporting beats following the beginning of her relationship with Ducklo, she still breaks big news related to the Biden administration regularly.
In December, just one month after she says she began dating the Biden aide, McCammond wrote a story outlining how Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms rejected the incoming president’s offer to lead the Small Business Administration. In the self-described scoop, McCammond attributed the information she received to “people familiar with the discussion.”
That same month, McCammond also wrote an article based on “a memo to Biden transition officials obtained by Axios” and information from “multiple people familiar” with the situation that described the Biden administration’s inner proceedings for Cabinet picks, including a scoop that Gina McCarthy was “a leading candidate” for a climate position.
More recently, McCammond wrote a piece about Harris’s niece Meena Harris, who began selling merchandise related to her aunt’s image and political career. Citing “people familiar with the situation,” McCammond explained why neither Meena nor anyone else on the Biden team could profit from the sales. Politico also noted that McCammond joined an Axios podcast where she shared her view of the Biden administration as “compassion and empathy” and noted “a focus on unity in a way we certainly haven’t seen from President Trump.”
Despite the potential problems that McCammond’s connections to the Biden administration could have on her journalistic integrity, Axios claims to “stand behind [McCammond] and her coverage.” Axios co-founder Jim Vandehei, however, admitted that while McCammond was not technically directly covering Ducklo, she does publicly reference him when “she talks about him on TV.”
McCammond and Ducklo both deny that their relationship interferes with their political and journalistic duties.
“TJ has not been a source for any story I’ve worked on or in any capacity since we began dating,” McCammond told People.