Eric Lander, a senior White House science adviser, resigned Monday after allegations of workplace harassment. At the beginning of his term, President Joe Biden promised that he would not tolerate such behaviour.
“I am devastated that I have hurt former and current colleagues by the way I have spoken to them,” Eric Lander, director of the bureau for science and technology policy, wrote in his letter. “I tried to encourage myself and my colleagues to achieve common goals, sometimes by questioning and criticizing things,” he said. However, Lander admitted that he went “too far” in that regard.
Eric Lander oversaw, among other things, Joe Biden’s recently launched initiative to cut cancer deaths by at least half over the next 25 years. However, the day after his inauguration, the Democratic president warned his associates that he would not tolerate any slippage. “I mean it when I say that if you work with me and I hear that you treat a colleague with disrespect or with contempt, I will fire you immediately,” the then-new president said.
Lander isn’t the only one on Joe Biden’s team who needs to pack his bags. Earlier, a spokesperson had to resign after threatening a journalist and making sexist remarks against her during a telephone conversation.