BREAKING — It appears Eric Lander, a top science adviser to Joe Biden, just submitted his resignation after learning a White House investigation into his workplace behavior would go public.
NEW: Eric Lander has resigned. Here's his reisignation letter.
first reported by Wapo. pic.twitter.com/KVwGtuOQ0o
— Alex Thompson (@AlexThomp) February 8, 2022
An internal White House investigation into Eric Lander and his abusive behavior toward subordinates determined that the top science advisor was in violation of Biden’s “decency and dignity” policy.
The “credible evidence” of Lander’s behavior violates Biden’s pledge that everyone working for the president would be treated with “decency and dignity.”
“If you’re ever working with me and I hear you treated another colleague with disrespect, talk down to someone, I promise I will fire you on the spot. On the spot. No ifs, ands, or buts,” Biden promised last year. “Everybody, everybody is entitled to be treated with decency and dignity”:
President Biden tells his appointees: "If you're working with me and I hear you treat another colleague with disrespect, talk down to someone, I promise you — I will fire you on the spot. On the spot. No ifs, ands or buts." https://t.co/1LntlB7T7E pic.twitter.com/P2aUyzC6pJ
— CBS News (@CBSNews) January 20, 2021
Despite the policy and the allegations against him, White House press secretary Jen Psaki did not commit to Lander’s removal. It wasn’t until Lander learned the investigation against him would go public did he submit his resignation.
.@PressSec Jen Psaki on science adviser & @WHOSTP Director Dr. Eric Lander: "Following the conclusion of the thorough investigation into these actions, senior White House officials conveyed directly to Dr. Lander that his behavior was inappropriate…" pic.twitter.com/4JrUde6DCl
— CSPAN (@cspan) February 7, 2022
The “credible evidence” of Lander’s “disrespectful interactions with staff by Dr. Lander and OSTP [Office of Science and Technology Policy] leadership” includes bullying and demeaning subordinates, according to Christian Peele, the White House’s deputy director of OSTP management and administration for personnel.
Lander, a White House cabinet member who has been touted as a central figure in Biden’s failed attempt to shut down the virus, spoke “harshly and disrespectfully to colleagues in front of other colleagues.”
“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.”
Fourteen former and current OSTP staff members under Lander’s direction confirmed the White House investigation to Politico, corroborating that “Lander frequently bullied, cut off and dismissed subordinates.” Lander allegedly yelled and humiliated subordinates in front of team members.
On Tuesday, Lander is scheduled to testify before the House’s Health Subcommittee on biomedical research. It is unknown if Lander will hold his White House position at the time of the hearing with Biden’s promise to fire team members who violated workplace rules of conduct.
Trust the science everybody!
Author: Elizabeth Tierney