White House Responds To Claim Over Staffer

The White House is facing fresh allegations of bullying and sexual harassment within its inner circle. Former aides to President Biden have come forward with disturbing claims against Anthony Bernal, a top aide to First Lady Jill Biden.

Bernal, who holds considerable influence in the White House due to his relationship with the First Lady, has been accused of making inappropriate comments about coworkers' genitalia and sexual orientation. The allegations were initially brought to the attention of White House Chief of Staff Jeff Zients, but he dismissed them as "unfounded attacks" without conducting an investigation. Zients' response has drawn criticism from former Biden White House officials and experts in sexual harassment.

According to three former Biden White House officials, Bernal has a long history of bullying and making offensive comments towards coworkers. They claim that he frequently speculated about the penis sizes of coworkers and made inappropriate comments about their sexualities.

These allegations have been independently corroborated by two sources, who have directly heard Bernal discuss his theory about men's thumbs being proportional to their penis size. Several sources have also described Bernal as a demanding and overbearing boss who has made coworkers cry and spread demeaning gossip.

These allegations are not new, as they were previously reported by Politico and mentioned in New York Times reporter Katie Rogers' recent book "American Woman." However, the revelations about Bernal's sexual harassment have added a new layer of concern.

Sexual harassment expert Louise Fitzgerald, who has served as an expert in federal court cases, believes that Bernal's behavior can be classified as sexual harassment and raises red flags about the White House's response. According to Fitzgerald, not investigating these allegations could increase the White House's liability.

The dismissal of these allegations by White House Chief of Staff Jeff Zients has elicited outrage from former Biden White House officials. One ex-official stated that, "the way that [Bernal] treats other people is really not in line with the way the Bidens say that they want people to be treated." They also criticized Zients' statement for sending a message that harassment and abuse will not be taken seriously or investigated.

Sexual harassment expert Louise Fitzgerald also voiced her concern, stating that Zients' response is "an incredible no-no" and signals to employees that harassment is not taken seriously and there will be no consequences for the perpetrator.

The White House has not yet released a statement in response to the criticism, and Zients has not addressed the backlash to his dismissal of the allegations against Bernal. However, sources have expressed their disappointment in Zients' response and the clear double standard regarding the White House's approach to harassment and bullying.

In August 2021, Politico reported on workplace bullying allegations against Bernal, and in March 2021, associate director of presidential advance Ian Mellul resigned after an investigation into verbal harassment. The White House's response to these allegations is inconsistent with President Biden's vow to fire any staff who show "disrespect" to people in their professional conduct.

Critics are questioning Zients' accountability for his own staff and calling for consequences for Bernal's behavior. The handling of these allegations has raised concerns about the safety of employees in the White House, especially in light of President Biden's promise to prioritize respect and dignity in the workplace. The White House has yet to respond to the recent allegations against Bernal, and it remains to be seen how they will address the issue moving forward.

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