Renowned White House Chief Florist Laura Dowling left her position on the eve of Valentine’s Day last month, and the reason for her departure is not clear. The Washington Post reports that there is still no official statement concerning what precipitated her unexpected exodus, but sources say she was escorted from the building on February 13.
When the Post inquired with the first lady’s office, it received a terse reply: “Laura left her position earlier this year.” A short time later, the East Wing sent a slightly longer statement:
As Chief Florist, Laura Dowling and her team treated guests of the White House to their beautiful floral arrangements. Ms. Dowling’s creations were always lively and colorful, reflecting not only the season but the unique and historic rooms which they graced. No two arrangements were ever the same and each one left guests with a lasting impression of the elegance and history of the People’s House. We are grateful for her contribution over the years and wish her well.
Ms. Dowling released a statement through her attorney, published earlier this week:
After almost 6 years as Chief Floral Designer at the White House, I have resigned in order to pursue exciting new opportunities and explore my passion for floral artistry and design. Over the next few weeks and months, I’ll be launching a new platform for my work as an author, speaker, instructor and design consultant that builds on the creative ideas and partnerships I’ve formed during my tenure there. It’s been such an honor to work at the White House and I will always be grateful for this incredible opportunity.
Dowling, a French-trained designer, had won her position as top florist in 2009 in a reality TV-style competition and had served in the White House since that time. She succeeded Nancy Clarke, who had been the chief florist for three decades.
The Post noted the contrast between Dowling’s no-fanfare/secret departure with that of other White House staff, like the “crust master” (the president’s words) pastry chef, Bill Yosses, and the family’s personal chef, Sam Kass, whom the president said ”left an indelible mark on the White House.” Mrs. Obama also wished Kass well in his future endeavors in the official White House statement.
The lack of comment by either of the Obamas regarding Ms. Dowling’s departure has caused rampant speculation as to the reason, with many concluding the first lady made the call.
The Post published a follow-up story Tuesday indicating that the first lady and Dowling clashed over matters of taste, with Mrs. Obama no longer liking the chief florist’s “fussy style.”
BizPac Review noted the similarity of the White House statement concerning Dowling’s departure with the language corporations use when they fire someone and do not want the public to know it. Couple that with Ms. Dowling sending her statement through a K Street attorney and a budding, true life, 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue drama is in the offing.
This post originally appeared on Western Journalism – Informing And Equipping Americans Who Love Freedom