Skip to comments.Obama State Dinner Fiasco - Will Desiree Rogers Get Thrown Under the Bus? (Part Two, with video)
Posted on 11/29/2009 4:38:09 PM PST by kristinn
Read part one here.
White House Social Secretary Desiree Rogers has been dodging the heat so far for her failure to ensure the first state dinner by the Obama administration went off without embarrassing the Obamas.
Worse still, her failure resulted in a potentially lethal security breakdown that has international repercussions.
Slowly the press, which adores Rogers almost as much as they adore her boss First Lady Michelle Obama, are beginning to look past the acknowledged faults of the Secret Service to Rogers' failed stewardship of the dinner.
Rebecca Dana and Lloyd Grove have a devastating article at the Daily Beast that noted several previous White House social and press secretaries who were aghast that Rogers was so derelict in her duties:
How on earth did it happen? Since when can someone throw on a red sari, knot a bowtie around her husbands meaty neck and traipse into the White House, makeup artist and camera crew in tow? Andin a question asked over turkey and stuffing at the homes of several former White House social and press secretaries yesterdaywhere, oh where, was Desiree Rogers?
Breaking with tradition, Rogers was a guest to the state dinner, which honored Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and his wife. She arrived solo, in a cream-colored Comme de Garcons dress, a curious choice that has since been the subject of considerable sniping online.
In the past, White House social secretaries have worked, not partied, on the nights of major events, racing around to make sure everything is going according to plan. But Rogers has occupied a bigger spotlight than her predecessors, doing more interviews, making more public appearances, and generally cutting a more glamorous figure. Just a few weeks after President Obama swore the oath of office, Rogers turned up at New York Fashion Week, sitting in the front row of three shows and taking photographs with Anna Wintour. According to three former White House officials, Rogers made it clear from the beginning that her approach to running presidential social functions would be a sharp break from past custom.
In February, 2009, in a longstanding tradition, all of the former White House social secretaries gathered for a private luncheon at the Four Seasons to welcome Rogers to the post and pass on their collective wisdom. Said one person in attendance: She was very friendly, but her position was clear: Theyre different. They got here differently. These are different times. The old rules are going out and the new rules are being made up. Rogers told the Associated Press Thursday that no one from her office had been at the security checkpoints to assist Secret Service members in managing the flow of guests and verifying their place on the list. The former White House officials, all from previous administrations, said they considered this a jaw-dropping oversight.
Michael "Spikey" Isikoff reported at Newsweek today that back in February Rogers had essentially eliminated the position of the person in her office assigned to greet guests at the gate to ensure things went smoothly.
Isikoff also reports the Obama administration is putting all blame on the Secret Service and is dismissing any inquiries as to the responsibilities that night of Desiree Rogers:
The White House staff member whose job was to supervise the guest list for state dinners and clear invitees into the events says she was stripped of most of her responsibilities earlier this year, prompting her to resign last June.
The account of Cathy Hargraves, who formerly served as White House "assistant for arrangements," raises new questions about whether changes that she says were made by President Obama's social secretary, Desiree Rogers, may have contributed to the security lapses...
Her job duties included overseeing the invitations for guests at state dinners and keeping track of RSVPs, she says. On the evening of state dinners, she says, she physically stood at the East Gate portico entrance and greeted each of the guests as they arrived, checking their names off a computerized printout of those who had been invited.
But when she met with Rogers last February and went over her job responsibilities, she says the new social secretary told her, "We don't feel we have a need for that anymore." Rogers's explanation, according to Hargraves: "In these economic times, I don't think we're going to have very many lavish expensive dinners. It wouldn't look very good."
A White House official (who asked not to be named because of the ongoing investigation) has refused to comment on any aspect of Hargraves account, saying, "it doesn't matter," because the Secret Service has already publicly apologized for violations of its own procedures that allowed the Salahis to crash the Tuesday night event.
In case Rogers is wondering what effective guest security at a presidential dinner is like, she can watch this video by Politico of herself and fellow Obama administration muckety-muck Valerie Jarrett being forced to present proper identification before they enter the magnetometers at the White House Correspondents Dinner last May at the Hilton Washington.
LINK TO VIDEO.
Can you believe it?!
Rogers thinks she’s different? So does her boss. And may he be as fired as quickly as she will be.
Not that anybody is proud of that (besides, she was married 5 times anyway), but it's certainly more praiseworthy than being a descendant of Madame Debo.
Uh, John is credited by some with the St. Valentine's Day Massacre in Chicago ~ which clearly didn't go far enough.
Because they're too busy with the weekly Wednesday night soirees...
Amateur hour at the WH. Narcissism...!
This is what Desiree wore to the dinner, rather than check invitees at the door. Reminds me of the time I put on my winter parka and I had some underwear from the laundry stuck to the velcro.
Desirée Glapion Rogers is the descendant of a Creole voodoo priestess named Marie Laveau Glapion. The first time I meet her, she welcomes me into her East Wing laira rhythm and blues tune plays on a white iPod, a potted white orchid perches between two windows, fresh flowers sit on a heavy wooden desk. This is a woman who never sees a wilted bloom. The 49-year-old turns on just enough Southern charm to camouflage an aura of self-assuredness typically.....
That is awful!!!!
It looks like it could have one of those long underwear flaps in the caboose.
she thinks she looks hot
Is that an adult size bib?
One reason for scaling back the responsibilities and position of a guest-list security evaluator, is when you know you’ll be inviting guests who can’t pass a White House security check. It reads that supervisory functions were overseen by a loyalist, and that blame was kicked down to the Secret Service instead.
You are SO FUNNY. It is exactly that laundry + underwear on velcro.
This is a cheap sheer curtain draped over an apron with knee pads.
Just awful. No mirrors in the White House?
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