White House Social Secretary Desiree Rogers Steps Down

"The only occasion that I know of that a social secretary sat down as a guest is when there is a last minute emergency cancellation and the social secretary was called on to fill in and sit down -- again part of the job to make things go smoothly," this official said.

The White House circled the wagons in defense of Rogers and pinned the blame on the Secret Service but questions continued over the social secretary's responsibility.

Rep. Peter King, R-N.Y., the top Republican on the House panel investigating the Nov. 24 White House security breach, renewed calls for White House social secretary Desiree Rogers to answer questions about her role in the incident by sending her a three-page letter earlier this month.

King's letter asks for answers on 15 questions he deemed "essential" for a full understanding of how Tareq and Michaele Salahi managed to masquerade on White House grounds without an invitation.

King's interest in Rogers' testimony has centered on the administration's decision to break from precedent and not to have a staff member assist Secret Service agents checking-in guests at entry points.

King's attempt to subpoena Rogers failed in a party-line vote after Democrats argued Rogers' role at White House events is outside the committee's purview. The White House cited separation of powers in refusing to allow Rogers to testify before the committee.

Who is Desiree Rogers?

Rogers came to the White House with a lengthy resume of executive positions back in Chicago, where she was a close friend of the Obamas. Her ties to the first couple go back decades: Her ex-husband, John Rogers, played basketball at Princeton with Michelle's older brother, Craig Robinson.

A native of New Orleans, Rogers graduated from Wellesley College and later Harvard Business School. She served as the former head of the Illinois Lottery and president of Peoples Gas and North Shore Gas.

She has been profiled in Vogue magazine, with accompanying photographs dressed in an Oscar de la Renta trench coat and Manolo Blahnik shoes. She attended Fashion Week in New York last spring and had a prime seat next to Vogue editor-in-chief Anna Wintour.

Rogers was something of a local celebrity in Chicago, a frequent fixture on the social scene who was known for her keen fashion sense.

Rogers knew the gargantuan assignment she was taking on when she assumed the role of social secretary for the Obama White House.

After all, President Obama and first lady Michelle Obama made it clear they wanted to bring change to the executive mansion and make their new home a more open, welcoming place to average Americans, like the ones they met over the years on the presidential campaign trail.

The responsibility of pulling that off falls to Rogers, who as social secretary is the principal coordinator for the social events at the White House and for the president and first lady.

Since taking on the role of social secretary for the youngest administration in decades, Rogers has added her own personal style to the execution of the Obamas' style. It was she who ordered the White House fountains be dyed green in honor of St. Patrick's Day last March, a nod to the tradition of dying the Chicago River green.

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