PAs in the news

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Politicians are not always the best-loved public figures, in fact they often inspire outbursts of unreserved loathing, but it seems that some of them at least are thought of with fondness by a certain section of the population – their personal assistants.

Barack Obama’s former PA, Reggie Love, has brought out a book that details the habits of the US president, noting that he eschews fried foods and mayonnaise in favour of healthier dishes such as grilled chicken and fish. Love describes his ex-boss as “an attentive father, devoted husband, trash-talking basketball player, feisty card shark and a loyal friend with a wicked sense of humour.”

Even presidents who are no longer with us are still feeling the love from the PA community, with the former assistant to Ronald Reagan talking affectionately of the decade she spent with him in a professional capacity. Speaking at an event organised to commemorate what would have been Reagan’s 104th birthday, Peggy Grande said that the ex-Governor of California treated everyone as equals, irrespective of their position in society. “He interacted [with people] with respect and kindness”, she recalled.

Meanwhile, the former assistant to the late South African leader Nelson Mandela has been accused of sparking a race row online. According to Toronto newspaper The Star, Zelda La Grange tweeted that she was fed up with the attitude of ruling ANC party leader Jacob Zuma towards white citizens in the country, asking the plaintive question, “Why can’t we coexist without it having to be at the expense of one another?”

Twitter users have been quick to condemn the lady nicknamed “the Rottweiler” for her fiercely protective attitude towards South Africa’s first black president, labelling her attitude as racist. She has been accused of playing down the troubled past of the indigenous community and her comments have resulted in the hashtag #ZeldaDoesntEvenKnow, which provides examples of discrimination still suffered today by the country’s black citizens, who make up the vast majority of the population.