Jeremy Bernard first man to be White House social secretary

Jeremy Bernard is not only the first male appointed to the position of White House social secretary, he is also the first openly gay person to hold the post.

Linda Davidson/Washington Post/AP
Jeremy Bernard (left) with his former partner Rufus Gifford. Mr. Bernard, a senior advisor to the US ambassador to France, has been named White House social secretary. Bernard, who is openly gay, is the first man named to the position traditionally held by a woman.

For the first time in history a man will become the White House social secretary. Jeremy Bernard will join the White House staff from the U.S. Embassy in Paris, where he serves as Senior Advisor to the Ambassador.

Bernard was an early supporter of Obama in Southern California, and he raised a substantial sum of money for Obama's 2008 presidential campaign. The Texas native’s resume includes a background in finance and a stint on the President's Advisory Commission for the Kennedy Center under Bill Clinton. Bernard has also served on several advisory boards for gay and lesbian issues.

Bernard, who is openly gay, and his former partner Rufus Gifford were known for raising capital through their company, B&G Associates. Gifford then became finance director of the Democratic National Committee. After the election, Bernard accepted a position as White House liaison to the National Endowment for the Humanities.

The Bernard pick marks the third appointment to the position under the Obama administration. Desiree Rogers was the first African American to hold the position; however her tenure was cut short after a couple crashed a state dinner at the White House. Bernard will succeed Julianna Smoot, who stepped aside recently to join Obama’s re-election campaign in Illinois.

In a statement Friday, the President said: "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 social secretary is head of the White House Social Office. The position is responsible for planning and carrying out official social events at the White House, both political and non-political.

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