President Obama’s Love is leaving him.
The White House announced earlier this month that Reggie Love, the president’s long-time personal assistant who becks on his every whim and fancy, will be leaving his job by the end of the year to study at the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School of Business full time. In an exclusive interview with ESPN’s Rachel Nichols set to air Tuesday night on ABC’s “World News with Diane Sawyer” and “Nightline,” the 6-foot-5 former Duke football and basketball star spoke out about the man he considers a big brother.
“He’s been like big brother to me, a mentor,” the 30-year-old told ESPN’s Nichols. “I’ve learned so much about life from him. I’ve spent most of my adult life working for him, so it’s going to be a challenge. A pretty big challenge.”
Asked what the president does that gets on his nerves, Love said it was Obama’s seeming disdain of air-conditioning.
“The thing that used to kill me is that the guy loves to ride around with the AC off in the summertime,” Love said. “And I get hot. I start sweating. And I’m like, it’s 80 degrees in this car. I’m going to pass out.”
Love said he helped provide President Obama “moments of levity” during his generally intense days.
“The president has to deal with so many things that are heavy,” Love said. “I think it’s good to be able to, for him, to have some moments of levity, some moments not full-tilt. And if me being a part of moments is helpful, I acknowledge and think I’m happy to do it.”
Love started working for President Obama in 2006 when was then merely a United States senator. His job as the president’s body man has him working up to 18 hours a day, making sure the president stays on schedule and that the leader of the free world has everything he needs.
“From my Senate office to the White House, his ability to juggle so many responsibilities with so little sleep has been an inspiration to watch,” President Obama said in a statement commenting on Love’s departure. The president called him an “indispensable member” of his team.
Losing his Love is more than just losing another ordinary employee for Obama. Love has been a regular teammate in the president’s pick-up basketball games and a constant travel companion. According to ABC News, the two have flown just short of 900,000 miles together. So it seems only natural that Love asked President Obama for advice when deciding whether he should give up his front row seat to history.
“I said, ‘Mister president, I just wanted to get your advice and your opinion on this. I’m thinking that maybe I need to spend more time focusing on school and taking some time off of here,’” Love said. “And he was very supportive of it.”