If there's one thing this town loves it's a good dinner party. Everyone from the first lady to Supreme Court justices spend considerable amounts of time off the clock poring over wine options and seating charts. So who better to throw a swanky welcome to Washington party than a former White House social secretary?
On Tuesday night, Deesha Dyer, the Obama administration's last social secretary, threw an intimate affair for President Donald Trump's newly minted social secretary, Anna Cristina Niceta Lloyd. (She goes by "Rickie.") It's a tradition that social secretaries of the past have upheld for decades regardless of political affiliation. The last keeper of all the details toasts the next woman (or man) to fill her sensible shoes while wielding the run of show for every public event held at the White House.
Dyer managed to corral an impressive list of social secretaries past at Central Michel Richard, the chic downtown restaurant just blocks from 1600 Pennsylvania Ave., on Tuesday night. On hand to pass along their hard-won wisdom were President Lyndon Johnson's social secretary Bess Abell; President Richard Nixon's social secretary Lucy Winchester Breathitt; President Ronald Reagan's social secretary Gahl Burt; President George W. Bush's social secretaries Lea Berman and Catherine Fenton; President Bill Clinton's social secretaries Ann Stock and Capricia Marshall; and President Barack Obama's social secretaries Desiree Rogers, Julianna Smoot and Jeremy Bernard.
The evening's biggest get had to be Rogers, who has rarely made cameos in D.C. since her embarrassing ouster as social secretary in 2010. Rogers, currently chief executive of Johnson Publishing Company, was at the helm during the infamous "gate crasher" fiasco during the State Dinner in honor of the Indian prime minister. Two uninvited cast members of "The Real Housewives of D.C." got past security and shook the president's hand. A congressional hearing happened, and shortly after Rogers skipped town for Chicago.
According to our tipster, the Social Secretaries Club is pretty tight. There were lots of hugs and selfies going around the table at the two-hour dinner during which Central's famous fried chicken played a starring role. None of the other guests in the dining room recognized the big names chatting mere tables away, but that's the point, isn't it? Social secretaries, despite their high-profile, high-stakes gig, are background players.
Dyer began the dinner with a toast to Lloyd, a veteran event planner and catering company executive whose first big test in her fancy new job will be the White House's annual Easter Egg Roll next week. (Thus far signs are pointed to a slow start.) Our spy couldn't hear Dyer's speech but we assume the former social secretary, whose own path to the East Wing was a bit windy (she started as a 31-year-old intern), may have offered up the same advice she was given at one of her own celebration dinners: "You make your own luck."