In a historic appointment, the White House has just announced that Jeremy Bernard will be the first male ever to serve as White House Social Secretary. Jeremy, also the first open member of the LGBT community to have that high honor, will return from Paris where he was serving as Senior Advisor to the Ambassador. Before France he was the White House's liaison to the National Endowment for the Arts.
Not only have I worked with Jeremy for the last twenty years, he is also one of my dearest friends. Indefatigable, unfailingly affable and extremely knowledgeable, no one deserves this prestigious appointment more. He has shown remarkable grace under pressure and is an extremely principled young man. In addition, his vast network of friends and associates will be of great assistance to the President and First Lady. The President in announcing the appointment 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 working with him to continue to showcase America's arts and culture to our nation and the world through the many events at the White House."
Bernard's reaction to the appointment was:
"I am 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 dynamic arts and education programs that have become hallmarks of the Obama White House and I am eager to continue those efforts in the years ahead."
Distinguished columnist and commentator Jonathan Capehart wrote this moving tribute about our mutual friend.
And now comes Jeremy Bernard.
Bernard and his then-partner Rufus Gifford were early supporters of Obama in California. And they raised a ton of money for him through their company, B&G Associates. Gifford went on to become finance director of the Democratic National Committee. Bernard was the White House liaison at the National Endowment for the Humanities before dashing off to his Paris post in November.
Full disclosure: Bernard and I are friends. He will bring a certain warmth and irreverence to the job that will make him a joy for his colleagues to work with. His knowledge of the Obamas and his intense attention to detail will ensure that their vision for the people's house continues seamlessly. And he has a reverence for the presidency and the meaning of the White House that will make him an imaginative steward of their image.
The president and the first lady have made an excellent choice.