Melania Trump considering male social secretary

Incoming First Lady Melania Trump

Story highlights

  • Social secretary oversees state dinners, parties and public events
  • This position has most interaction with first lady

Washington (CNN)Soon-to-be First Lady Melania Trump is considering a man among several other candidates to become the next White House social secretary, according to two people with knowledge of East Wing personnel deliberations.

A final decision hasn't been made. The role has historically been filled by a woman until 2011, when the Obamas named Jeremy Bernard to the position, making him the first man and the first openly gay social secretary.
The social secretary oversees state dinners, parties and public events typically held nearly every day at the White House and acts as a conduit between the first family and the residence staff. This candidate is not in their social circle in New York, according to a source with ties to the transition.
"Mrs. Trump is not yet speaking publicly about key decisions she's making privately on personnel," according to a transition official working closely with the incoming first lady.
The official said reports that the Office of the First Lady would be changing to the Office of the First Family are incorrect.
"She will make the house a home for her family," the person said on the condition of anonymity.
Melania Trump has said she will stay in New York while their ten-year-old son Barron finishes school there and she has made no announcement about when or if she will move to Washington.
"We were prepared to have a man as the president's spouse," said Anita McBride, Laura Bush's former chief of staff. "There is no reason not to consider a man for the position of social secretary. It is an extraordinary opportunity."
The social secretary reports to the first lady and the president but has the most interaction with the first lady.
Desirée Rogers, the Obama's first social secretary, was named well before the inauguration in 2009 and was very involved in the family's move into the White House. She left fourteen months after the Obamas took office, in part because of controversy after two people managed to sneak into the first state dinner of the new administration.
Rogers was the first African American social secretary and working for the first African American first family had special significance for her, specifically seeing the reaction of the mostly African American butlers staff.
"On Inaugural Day what was most compelling to me is that I looked at all these gentlemen preparing for the arrival of the first African American president -- I could not help but be taken at how they looked," Rogers said in an interview for the book "The Residence: Inside the Private World of the White House." "They reminded me, quite frankly, of my grandfather, who obviously was a pillar in our family."
In 2015, the Obamas named Deesha Dyer as social secretary to replace Bernard. Dyer had been an intern in the Office of Scheduling and Advance and became the second African American to fill the position.
Kate Andersen Brower is a CNN contributor and author of "The Residence: Inside the Private World of the White House" and "First Women: The Grace and Power of America's Modern First Ladies"