White House Picks First Gay Man to Be Social Secretary
Jeremy Bernard takes the job once held by Desiree Rogers, who left in the wake of the party crasher mini-scandal
President Obama has tapped Jeremy Bernard to be White House social secretary, making him both the first man and the first openly gay person to hold the job. Bernard was an early supporter of Obama and raised a lot of cash for his 2008 presidential campaign. The job was once held by Desirée Rogers, who was celebrated for her glamour in several glossy magazines before eventually stepping down following Michaele and Tareq Salahi's crashing of a state dinner.
Bernard was previously one half of a gay power couple in Los Angeles; with partner Rufus Gifford, he founded B&G Associates. "Bernard and Gifford know how to work a room, people like them," the L.A. Weekly's Patrick Range MacDonald wrote in 2008, explaining that the pair went into fundraising to push for gay rights. Hillary Clinton's campaign offered them a job, too, but they were concerned by Bill Clinton's mixed record on gay issues.
Bernard is currently the chief of staff to the U.S. ambassador to France and has also served as the White House liaison at the National Endowment for the Humanities. The Washington Post's Jonathan Capehart, a friend of Bernard's, says he has "a reverence for the presidency ... that will make him an imaginative steward of their image."