(FiveNation.com)- This week, President Biden’s top science advisor resigned after an investigation into complaints that he mistreated staff.
White House press secretary Jen Psaki announced on Monday evening that President Biden had accepted the resignation of geneticist Dr. Eric Lander, who was tapped by Biden in early January 2021 to lead the White House’s Office of Science and Technology Policy.
Lander’s resignation was announced the same day Politico reported that the White House had concluded an investigation into claims that Lander “bullied and demeaned his subordinates and violated the White House’s workplace policy.”
During the press briefing on Monday afternoon, Psaki was peppered with questions about the Politico report. She condemned Lander’s behavior and confirmed that the investigation had taken place.
Psaki said that senior White House officials told Lander his behavior was inappropriate and “corrective actions needed to be taken.” She added that nothing about Lander’s behavior was acceptable.
However, given the pledge that President Biden made on his first day in office to fire people “on the spot” if they treated colleagues disrespectfully, the fact that it took over a year for the White House to get rid of Lander garnered added scrutiny in the press.
You might recall Biden warning on January 20, 2021, “I promise you I will fire you on the spot. No ifs, ands, or buts.” He said at the time that everyone “is entitled to be treated with decency and dignity,” adding that decency and dignity had been missing during Trump’s presidency.
And yet Joe Biden didn’t fire Lander “on the spot.” Instead, the guy spent over a year working in Biden’s administration.
According to the internal investigation, 14 current and former employees who worked under Lander said he had created a toxic work environment. Nine of those said they witnessed Lander yelling and berating staffers in front of their peers.
The good news is, at least Lander remained committed to the Biden administration’s push for equity. He was an equal-opportunity bully. The investigation concluded that there was no gender-based discrimination.
In his resignation letter, Landers expressed remorse for his actions, writing that he was “devastated” that he “caused hurt to past and present colleagues.”