Biden's top science adviser resigns over 'bullying'

A top adviser to President Joe Biden has resigned after an investigation showed he was “bullying” other White House staffers.

Top science adviser to the president, Eric Lander, apologized and announced his resignation, the latest White House staffer to exit the administration. The White House investigation, which was first reported by Politico, found evidence that Lander was “bullying” colleagues and had “several disrespectful interactions with staff.”

Lander apologized for his actions in a resignation letter, noting his last day in the position will be Feb. 18.

“It has been a great honor to serve as your Science Advisor and to work with the extraordinarily talented career and non-career colleagues at the Office of Science and Technology Policy,” Lander said. “I am writing to submit my resignation, to be effective no later than February 18 in order to permit an orderly transfer.

“I am devastated that I caused hurt to past and present colleagues by the way in which I have spoken to them,” he added.

Biden regularly criticized former President Donald Trump’s rhetoric on the campaign trail and pledged to not tolerate bullying in his administration.

"If you're ever 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 ... no ifs, ands or buts," Biden said during his inaugural address.

Those remarks resurfaced in light of the allegations against Lander. White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki addressed the issue Tuesday, saying Biden accepted Lander's resignation.

“It was made clear to him through the course of the day yesterday, I suppose, that he could no longer lead [The Office of Science and Technology Policy] effectively,” Psaki said. “I think we are now focused on looking forward. There is obviously a lot of important work that OSTP will do, continue to do and continue to lead on going forward, and the president is eager to continue working with them."

Lander had an extensive scientific career and was most known for his leadership in the Human Genome Project, where led the way in mapping the human genome.

"We have assembled the most amazing set of people at OSTP, and we have together set out the most ambitious goals that this agency has ever attempted,” Lander said in his resignation. “I have sought to push myself and my colleagues to reach our shared goals — including at times challenging and criticizing," Lander wrote in his resignation letter to Biden. But it is clear that things I said, and the way I said them, crossed the line at times into being disrespectful and demeaning, to both men and women. That was never my intention."

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