Jeremy Bernard Named White House Social Secretary; is First Man, First Openly Gay Person to Serve in Position

The White House today announced that Jeremy Bernard has been appointed Social Secretary and Special Assistant to the President. Bernard is the first man to hold the position.

Bernard Bernard is currently serving as Senior Advisor to the Ambassador at the U.S. Embassy in Paris, and prior to that served as White House Liaison to the National Endowment for the Humanities.

Said President Obama: "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."

Said Bernard in a statement: "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 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.”

On January 28, the NYT speculated whether a man could possibly take over the position of Social Secretary for the first time, after the announcement of the departure of Julianna Smoot to help run Obama's reelection campaign.

Bernard was a California Finance Consultant for the Obama for American campaign.  Appointed by President Clinton, Bernard also 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.


  1. mikeboston says

    Not really a father-in-law, yet.

    Rufus’ father was CEO of Fleet Bank when it was acquired by BofA. Rufus was actually married a few years back to another man – one of the first in Massachusetts.

    I guess he dumped the veternarian he was dating last year.

    @Greg – ‘Who better than a gay man for your social secretary?’ Nice play to the stereotype.

  2. says

    “It’s not 1993. Simple visibility in any job isn’t going to cut. It’s no longer solely about quantity, it’s about quality too. It’s no longer enough to say you appointed more gays – now you have to appoint them to better positions than before. Clinton appointed gay ambassadors nearly twenty years ago. That’s no longer enough.

    Look at the list for yourself – here’s the “best of” from the Victory Fund. It’s a nice list, but not terribly earth-shattering. For example, there are nine openly gay assistant secretaries at the agencies – decently senior positions. Only nine. And note the agencies: HUD, Commerce, HHS, Labor, Veterans affairs. There is one at Defense, which is finally a super serious agency, except guess what job he has – “Public affairs” – the softer of the Defense jobs, and, the more stereotypically gay one (Pete Williams anyone?). And there are no “deputy secretaries” on the list at all.

    If the White House really wanted a historic choice for party planner they’d have picked a straight guy.” – John Aravosis, AMERICAblog Gay.

  3. Clifw says

    @Mike C.- I’ve been a social secretary (though, obviously not at the WH) and it is unbelievably hideous. Though I suppose the advantage of being at the WH is at least you know that your call is going to be returned.

  4. ratbastard says

    What a load of crap. Liaison to the National Endowment for the Humanities? ‘Special’ advisor to the ambassador at the Paris embassy [LOL!]?! The man is a text-book political hack!

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