Desiree Rogers, White House Social Secretary announced her resignation on Friday following her embroilment in the gate-crashing controversy during Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s state visit in November 2009.
In a reported statement on her resignation Ms. Rogers said, “As we turn the corner on the first year this is a good time for me to explore opportunities in the corporate world.” Robert Gibbs, White House Press Secretary, said that she was not asked to leave the job.
Ms. Rogers, who has a Harvard MBA and left behind a corporate career in Chicago to join the White House in January 2009, was noted as much for her flair for fashion as for infusing a sense of openness into an institution that has not been known for its accessibility to the American public.
However in November, during Mr. Singh’s state visit to Washington, Ms. Rogers was initially held responsible for failing to prevent Virginians Tareq and Michaele Salahi, and a third uninvited person, from breaching White House security and attending the dinner.
On earlier occasions one member of the Social Secretary’s office would be charged with the responsibility of checking, along with the Secret Service, the identities of guests entering the White House.
In November, however, Ms. Rogers attended the state dinner as a guest and after the incident was seen as having neglected the more mundane duties of her role. While she was never officially charged with negligence, reports quoted an administration official saying “Once the state dinner deal went down, people who had other political agendas started micromanaging every part of her business.”
While this may be the end of Ms. Rogers’ involvement in the White House, her legacy may well outlive her tenure. She was not only the first African-American Social Secretary, but she was also credited with organising “hundreds of fun and creative events during her time here”, according to the Obamas.
The President and First Lady acknowledged her service to the White House for over a year saying, “We are enormously grateful to Desiree Rogers for the terrific job she’s done as the White House Social Secretary. When she took this position, we asked Desiree to help make sure that the White House truly is the People’s House, and she did that by welcoming scores of everyday Americans through its doors, from wounded warriors to local schoolchildren to NASCAR drivers.”