Last Monday, President Joe Biden’s top science adviser, Dr. Eric Landers, resigned from his post. He left amid allegations of bullying and mistreatment of subordinates.
Initially, the White House said they will retain Landers and work on improving the workplace. However, they later accepted his resignation.
Biden’s Top Science Adviser Revealed As Bully
Landers, Biden’s top science adviser, heads the Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) of the White House. His resignation announcement came despite earlier insistence from the White House that he will remain in his post.
Instead of being let go, the administration will impose corrective actions and remediations to improve the workplace.
Landers wrote to President Joe Biden about his decision. He said that it was “a great honor to serve as your Science Advisor” and work with the talented people at the OSTP.
However, he formalized his decision to stay in office only until February 18. This allows enough time to conduct an orderly transition. “I am devastated that I caused hurt to past and present colleagues by the way in which I have spoken to them,” he added.
With Top Science Adviser’s Departure, It’s A Black Eye For Biden
As Biden’s top science adviser, Landers carries a Cabinet-level status position. This means that his resignation is the highest-profile departure from Biden’s cabinet.
This also means another black eye for the beleaguered president, who earlier boasted of having a zero-tolerance policy on bullying.
Meanwhile, White House press secretary Jen Psaki confirmed that Biden did accept the resignation. She said Biden thanked Landers for his work on “the pandemic, the cancer moonshot, climate change, and other key priorities”.
According to Psaki, Biden expects Landers to “continue to make important contributions to the scientific community in the years ahead.”
Two Month Investigation Prior to Resignation
Politico reported that the White House conducted a two-month investigation into reports about Landers’ behavior. The probe found credible evidence that Landers bullied his then-general counsel Rachel Wallace.
The investigation also showed credible evidence of disrespectful interactions among Landers and his staff. In addition, 14 former and current OSTP employees described a toxic work environment. Landers often bullied, cut off, and dismissed subordinates.
In particular, several said that Landers belittled and demeaned women staff.
White House Forced To Let Top Science Adviser Go
Last Monday, the White House made it seem they will retain Landers despite the allegations of bullying. Psaki told the media that the administration will implement changes to improve the workplace culture at the OSTP.
However, the White House soon realized that the OSTP situation is too much to control. Eventually, Biden had to let Landers go.
In fact, Landers’ chief of staff Marc Aidinoff sent an all-staff email acknowledging that the behavior described was not acceptable.
Moving forward, the OSTP will communicate further with employees on steps to “move forward as a community.”
Watch the Reuters news video reporting that White House to monitor corrective actions over science adviser Eric Landers:
What do you think of Biden’s top science adviser, Dr. Eric Landers? Do you think he quit, or did you think he was pushed out the door?
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