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White House Taps Gay Man, Jeremy Bernard, for New Social Secretary

3 years ago
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The new White House social secretary is Jeremy Bernard -- the first man and first openly gay person -- tapped for the job. He will replace Julianna Smoot, who is leaving to become the deputy manager of President Obama's 2012 reelection campaign.

Smoot's departure has been known for weeks; she stayed around for the big National Governors Association dinner on Sunday.

Bernard, 49, is the Obama administration's third social secretary. Smoot -- who was finance director of the Obama 2008 presidential campaign -- was the second. The first social secretary was Desiree Rogers, who was also the first African-American in that role. Rogers left in the wake of a flap over Tareq and Michaele Salahi, accused of crashing the Obama's first State dinner in 2009. She is now back in Chicago, a top executive at Johnson Publications.

The Washington Post is reporting that Bernard was a major Obama fundraiser whose former partner, Rufus Gifford, is currently the Democratic National Committee finance director. The White House East Wing confirmed to Politics Daily that Bernard and Gifford were business partners in a political fund-raising and consulting firm. Though the DNC has not made it official, Politics Daily has reported that Gifford will lead the fundraising efforts for the Obama 2012 reelection campaign.

Bernard at present is a Senior Advisor to the U.S. French Ambassador in Paris. Before that, he was the White House Liaison to the National Endowment for the Humanities from 2008 to 2010. He has been a regular White House visitor and on Oct. 1, according to White House visitor records, Bernard met with Smoot.

From the White House: "(Jeremy Bernard) joins the White House staff from the U.S. Embassy in Paris, where he serves as Senior Advisor to the Ambassador. Prior to this role, he worked as the White House Liaison to the National Endowment for the Humanities.

"Jeremy shares our vision for the White House as the People's House, one that celebrates our history and culture in dynamic and inclusive ways. We look forward to Jeremy continuing to showcase America's arts and culture to our nation and the world through the many events at the White House," the president said.

"Bernard said he was "deeply humbled to join the White House staff as social secretary and support President Obama and the First Lady in this role. I have long admired the arts and education programs that have become hallmarks of the Obama White House and I am eager to continue these efforts in the years ahead."

"Tina Tchen, chief of staff to First Lady Obama, said she looks forward to working with Bernard on a wide range of White House activities, "from fun and educational student workshops to elegant State dinners that welcome world leaders to the White House. Jeremy's creativity, perspective and skills will be a welcome addition to our East Wing team. . . "

"Bernard's "humor, good will and high standard of professionalism" set him apart at his job at the National Endowment for the Humanities, said NEH Chairman Jim Leach.

Bernard's biography, from the White House: "A native of San Antonio, Texas, Bernard currently serves as Senior Advisor to the Ambassador at the U.S. Embassy of Paris. He served as the White House Liaison to the National Endowment for the Humanities from 2008 to 2010.

"Previously, Bernard was a California Finance Consultant for the Obama for American campaign. He was a Principal of B&G Associates from 2007 to 2009, Vice-President of Mapleton Investments from 1999 to 2006 and Director of Government Affairs of Falcon Cable TV from 1996 to 2006.

"Appointed by President Clinton, Bernard served on the President's Advisory Committee on the Arts for the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts and was a member of the Democratic National Committee from 2001 to 2009.

"He previously served as a board member of A.N.G.L.E. (Access Now for Gay & Lesbian Equality) and the National Gay & Lesbian Victory Fund. He was also a member of the Los Angeles County Sheriff's LGBT Advisory Committee, the Los Angeles Police LGBT Advisory Committee and the Los Angeles Mayor's LGBT Advisory Committee."

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AL

Was that choice to improve the Social Security Admin. or to buy the votes of another splinter group that caters to the coalition of support for the Obama administration?

March 13 2011 at 6:46 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
scottee

this is just stupid....what was the headline for the last heterosexual social secretary? their personal life should have nothing to do with the job.

February 26 2011 at 7:49 AM Report abuse +2 rate up rate down Reply
surfergirle

Emily Post for Social Secratary-
What on earth qualifies this man, with no former etiquette work, event coordination or production work, to be Social Sec?
Yes he is very qualified to do a lot of jobs, but not this.
He was hired because of the work he has done for the administration, and has raised funds...
Shame on you, Obama, you will have another faux-paus like your first social sec's scandal. (Party Crashers anyone)? She however did not know how to run an event, and this gentleman, has no professional experience either. I am sure there was another more qualified. I mean, did anyone hear what Obama gave as a Christmas Gift to the Queen of England?

February 26 2011 at 7:31 AM Report abuse -1 rate up rate down Reply
N68Firebird

Why is it so important that we know this man is gay? Is that supposed to be an achievement, a requirement of the position, both? If this man is qualified, talk about his qualifications! We don't need to know if he is gay, who his momma is, any such extraneous personal information.

February 26 2011 at 6:30 AM Report abuse +3 rate up rate down Reply
ptgandsons

I dont care if this person is gay or not. I just dont get why it is sooo important to make sure everyone in the world know it.. AND i dont think this man in office now is a moral man at all.

February 26 2011 at 6:07 AM Report abuse -1 rate up rate down Reply
Carol

2012 CANNOT COME SOON ENOUGH.

February 26 2011 at 5:45 AM Report abuse -1 rate up rate down Reply
konviser

Many people here have criticized the fact that it's even pointed out that this man is gay. They say that all that matters is his qualifications. So all of a sudden the Right is so politically correct. Well of course ultimately it shouldn't matter, and will not matter, what the man's sexual orientation is. But it's always a noteworthy event when a barrier to the advancement of members of a group that has previously been discriminated against and marginalized falls. In the 1830s it was a big event when the first Catholic was appointed to the Supreme Court. Then in 1916 when the first Jew was appointed to the Court. Then, in 1967, the first African-American. And the first woman. And when the first woman was elected to Congress, and the first negro was appointed to the president's cabinet. And so on, and so forth. So, sure, ultimately, it shouldn't matter whether the President's social secretary is gay or straight, but let's be honest, it still does matter to people. But having more people in more important positions who are known to be gay will hasten the coming of the day when such things are so commonplace that they really won't matter to anybody any more.

February 26 2011 at 1:46 AM Report abuse +2 rate up rate down Reply
bbib1

Please vote for me gays, please..... gays? Where'd you all go? Oh yeah, you joined the army, you won't be back until after the elections and your vote won't count because military votes aren't counted. Shucks, I should have thought of that.

February 26 2011 at 12:18 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Julia

Typical.

February 26 2011 at 12:17 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Bear2

At this point in time I could care less about a new Social Secretary. All these people in the White House know how to do is party and party some more. People want jobs. People want to keep their homes. Disgusting how they just keep taking vacations and partying. Enough already. They should be ashamed.

February 26 2011 at 12:03 AM Report abuse -2 rate up rate down Reply

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