First openly gay male White House Social Secretary making new arrangements

(Mistral-Bernard/US Embassy Paris)

WASHINGTON (CNN) -- Jeremy Bernard, the first man to hold the job of White House Social Secretary, is stepping aside, the East Wing announced Wednesday.

Bernard, a popular member of the White House staff, also happens to be the first openly gay man to serve in the role, a source of pride for the administration.

Michelle Obama gushed about Bernard in a statement: "For the last four years, Jeremy has worked tirelessly to open the doors of the White House to as many people as possible and to make each and every event in the White House one to remember," she said. "I was lucky to have such a talented individual on my team, and I am equally lucky to have made a lifelong friend in Jeremy."

Bernard appeared in a feature for Vogue just this February. "This is not Nancy Reagan's White House," they wrote, citing a more casual social atmosphere under the Obama administration.

He acknowledged his own surprise at landing the role, where he has served since 2011. Bernard previously served as White House liaison at the National Endowment for the Humanities. He got his start in politics working for Bill Clinton's presidential campaign in the early 1990s, then worked on President Barack Obama's 2008 campaign.

Bernard will return to his native California following the state dinner with Japanese Prime Minister Abe in late April and has no set plans after his departure.

"The good thing about this job---and perhaps the bad thing---is that I am not able to think about the future," he told Vogue.

"One of my predecessors told me that she lost sleep toward the end because people told her she would go on to do great things next, but they never told her what. She warned me that I do have to start thinking about it. I know I do; I just haven't yet. I'm sort of putting my head in the sand."

In the meantime, he told the Washington Post he looks forward to "some quality time with Garbo, my rescue beagle."

Bernard's replacement will be named in the coming weeks, a White House official added.

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