Jeremy Bernard, currently the chief of staff to the U.S. ambassador to France, will be named White House Social Secretary -- the third person to have the job during President Obama's tenure and the very first male to ever hold the position.
The Washington Post reports Bernard and his former partner Rufus Gifford (Bernard is openly gay) were some of the first supporters of Obama in California. Jonathan Capehart writes, "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."
Below is the White House's statement:
The White House today announced Jeremy Bernard has been named Special Assistant to the President and Social Secretary. He 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. "I am deeply humbled to join the White House staff as Social Secretary and support President Obama and the First Lady in this role," said Jeremy Bernard. "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." "I look forward to working with Jeremy to continue the great work of the Social Office, 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, as we showcase the White House and celebrating America's arts and culture," said Tina Tchen, Chief of Staff to First Lady Michelle Obama. "What stood out in Jeremy's work at the National Endowment for the Humanities was his humor, good will, and high standard of professionalism," said National Endowment for the Humanities Chairman Jim Leach. 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.