February 25th, 2011
05:01 PM ET

Mr. Social Secretary

WASHINGTON (CNN) - For the first time in White House history the social events guru and keeper of the coveted invite lists will be an openly gay man.

Jeremy Bernard will become President Obama's third White House social secretary, filling a job that has become a revolving door of sorts since the president took office.

"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," President Obama said in a written statement.

Bernard will replace Julianna Smoot, who is leaving after less than one year on the job to join Obama's re-election campaign in Chicago.

Smoot's predecessor, Obama family friend Desiree Rogers, added notoriety and intrigue to the social secretary role as she was often criticized for seeking out the spotlight. Rogers' tenure was marred by the infamous Salahi party crasher incident at the first state dinner over which she presided.

Bernard has been serving as senior advisor to the U.S. Ambassador to France at the embassy in Paris. He said in the White House statement he is "deeply humbled" by the appointment.

Serving as a California finance consultant for the Obama campaign, Bernard helped raise millions in California during the presidential election.  After Obama won, he moved to Washington and was appointed White House liaison to the National Endowment for the Humanities.

"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," Bernard said.

Chad Griffin, a former Clinton White House staffer and political strategist based in California, knows Bernard from philanthropic, political and fundraising circles in Los Angeles.

He said Bernard's talents and experience will be a "tremendous asset" to the White House and "as the first man and first LGBT American to hold the post, Jeremy's appointment underscores the President's commitment to diversity and should be celebrated by all Americans," Griffin told CNN.

As social secretary Bernard will run the White House Social Office with two male deputies, Ebs Burnough and Joe Reinstein, and Assistant Social Secretary Samantha Tubman. He’ll be responsible coordinating and executing official social events at the White House.

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soundoff (4 Responses)
  1. Tia Bullett

    I think it's a wonderful opportunity and speaks volume about the direction in which the Obamas intend to stir this country...equal rights for everyone. I applaud Mr. Bernard for the courage to represent not only the social image of our country but an image that has been prohibited
    for many years in the political arena. As an owner of a marketing firm here in Charlotte, NC, I look forward to witnessing the style & grace of the new 'Mr. Social Secretary.' during the upcoming DNC. Kudos!!

    February 25, 2011 at 8:35 pm |
  2. Jay in NC

    Would this administration be so quick to tell us if he was bi-sexual, or void of all sexual desire? Do we feel comfortable with a government agency asking and telling about an employee's sexual orientation? Here is Marry, our new employee, she is single and a heterosexual, oh, did I mention she can also type.

    This reminds me of a couple that is having difficulty getting pregnant. They tell everyone, anyone, "we have tried and tried and tried, we have tried morning, noon and night." Well I do not care to hear that much about your personal life. Go get a room and shut up.

    February 25, 2011 at 8:56 pm |
  3. Liz Carter in Georgia

    You claimed you were SO concerned about one of 'YOUR FACTS' that the UNITED NATIONS had passed a law, that would allow executions on LGBT without cause! The people kept on pushing to get DADT, in the military, dropped; and it has been! LGBT is out here everyday keeping you aware of the fact that they want to be treated with the same rights and openess as heterosexuals, still fighting to be legally married! I think the administration is ONLY underscoring 'the PRESIDENTS' commitment to diversity' in AMERICA!

    February 26, 2011 at 3:57 am |
  4. Liz Carter in Georgia

    They're trying to make sure you don't think they intend to execute them, but of course, you'd find a way to put a negative light on the administrations' efforts to show even more diversity inclusion in the WHITEHOUSE! The WHITEHOUSE is already too diverse for you as it is! Stop blogging in denial Jay; just tell the truth! I put my truth out here, and expect hit dogs to toss the rocks back at me! It would be obvious to the blind, if everyone of your posts were just read to them, what your true problem is!

    February 26, 2011 at 4:21 am |