Tags: Michelle Obama | White House | East Wing | transition

First Lady's Wing of White House Going Through Transition

By    |   Thursday, 09 Apr 2015 12:37 PM

Turnover continues among key personnel in the White House's East Wing, which oversees events and the office of the first lady, The New York Times reported.

The latest insiders set to leave are Jeremy Bernard, the White House social secretary, and M.C. Gonzalez, the first lady's communications director, the Times said.

The announcement of their departures, while not unusual in the waning days of a president's second term, comes on the heels of the "abrupt exit" of White House florist Laura Dowling, who left in February, the Times said.

Michelle Obama praised both Bernard and Gonzalez for their service.

Bernard, her "lifelong friend," has "worked tirelessly to open the doors of the White House to as many people as possible and to make each and every event in the White House one to remember, not only for Barack and me, but for the tens of thousands of guests who pass through our doors each year," Obama said.

The first lady called herself "incredibly grateful for her passion, creativity, integrity and leadership" of Gonzalez, whose deputy Caroline Adler, will replace her, the Times said.

Reports during Obama's tenure as first lady have described her as a serious perfectionist and someone focused on exacting detail, the New Republic reported in a 2014 story on behind-the-scenes at the East Wing. She also is said to favor a close-knit inner circle.

"Mrs. Obama has consistently shown a strong preference to be surrounded by aides with whom she has long-standing ties," the New Republic wrote of coveted insider status there.

"She's the kind of person who, if you know her a long time, you get to the point with her where you're loved, but it's really hard at first," a former White House staffer told the New Republic.

Bernard, who was the first man and openly gay male to hold the social secretary post for a first lady, took over his role in 2011, CNN said. He will return to his native California after his tenure ends in late April.

"The good thing about this job — and perhaps the bad thing — is that I am not able to think about the future," he once told Vogue, according to CNN.

"One of my predecessors told me that she lost sleep toward the end because people told her she would go on to do great things next, but they never told her what. She warned me that I do have to start thinking about it. I know I do; I just haven't yet. I'm sort of putting my head in the sand," he said of leaving.

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Turnover continues among key personnel in the White House's East Wing, which oversees events and the office of the first lady, The New York Times reported.
Michelle Obama, White House, East Wing, transition
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2015-37-09
Thursday, 09 Apr 2015 12:37 PM
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