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The Student News Site of Stony Brook University

The Statesman

The Student News Site of Stony Brook University

The Statesman

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Desiree drops the Ball

Behind every perfect social event is the perfect event planner, but in the case of the White House, its the social secretary. Desiree Rogers is responsible for every event that happens in the White House residence. She must coordinate with chefs, florists, d’eacute;cor, entertainment, and of course, the guest lists. Rogers has already organized 150 events at the White House.

She arrived in Washington with more style than any past White House social secretary and was the first Black women to hold this position. She has been featured in Vogue, Wall Street Journal, television appearances, and has been given the title of one of the most prominent women of style. With a Harvard MBA, years of corporate experience, and a circle of close friends, which include Barack and Michelle Obama, Desiree is living the life that many event planners dream of.
She defined her goal as nothing less than bringing life to the Obama presidency and to help him build relationships with the capital’s other political players. Her vision for the spectacular events include inviting ordinary citizens chosen by lottery to join in a social activity that reflects the eclectic interests of a the First couple, along with ravishing state events and intimate dinners, complete with entertainment fit for Kings and Queens. Most recently, the activity was the state dinner for Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh.

Now, for event planners as well as social secretaries, one major fear is not having enough guests to attend an event, but for Desiree Rogers, her fear was the opposite, having uninvited guests easily past through security and taking warm pictures with prominent people. Rogers failed to follow the previous administration’s practice of staffing the Secret Service-guarded entrances for dinner guests with someone from her office that could handle any problem with invitees.

According to an article from CBS, ‘the social secretary pulled off an elegant evening, a logistically complicated affair for 300-plus guests under a romantic pavilion lined with magnolia branches. The chef was whisked in from one of New York’s top restaurants, and the entertainment was headlined by Oscar winner Jennifer Hudson.’

The turn of events occurred when the emergence of an unknown wealthy couple effortlessly made their way past White House checkpoints, got their names announced, walked by the press cameras on the ground floor, and made their way upstairs, where President Obama, First Lady Michelle Obama, Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, and his wife, Gursharan Kaur, were in a receiving line. The Salashis, owners of the Oasis Winery and the America’s Cup of Polo, who were applying to be featured for a reality show called the ‘Housewives of DC’ were taped by a camera crew, as they prepared at their home for the state dinner at the White House.

As of now, the blame has been placed on the Secret Service, which took full responsibility for the failures, and the social office, which didn’t have staff stationed at the checkpoints. Criticism has surfaced to see if Rogers gets ‘the boot’ for the letting Salahis ‘sneak a peek’. Reports have stated that she has not spoken since the breach, and the White House has said she won’t testify before the congressional panel.

Maureen Dowd of the New York Times wrote: ‘Instead of standing outside with a clipboard, eyeballing guests as Anne Hathaway did in ‘The Devil Wears Prada,’ Desiree was … the center of her own table of guests, just like the president and first lady.’

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