- An Obama administration alumni, the 43-year-old was executive director of the 59th Presidential Inauguration Committee.
Maju Varghese, director of the White House Military Office, has left his post, a year after he successfully executed President Biden’s inauguration. An Obama administration alumni, the Indian American previously served as a senior adviser and chief operating officer for Biden’s 2020 presidential campaign. It is not clear what Varghese’s next plans are, and who will replace him at the White House, reported CNN.
Son of a nurse and a cab driver from India, the 43-year-old announced his resignation in a series of tweets on Jan. 21, noting that leading WHMO was the honor of a lifetime. “Overcome with lots of emotion today as a 2.5-year journey comes to a close. Grateful to have served @POTUS and for the friendships that were forged in the tough days of the early primaries, when we were counted out but bounced back to win it all.”
In another tweet, he wrote: Grateful to @BidenInaugural for giving the country a day to celebrate despite all the challenges we faced. Grateful to the men and women of the White House Military Office for taking me in and teaching me about service and sacrifice.
As executive director of the 59th Presidential Inauguration Committee, Varghese successfully directed the inauguration through the coronavirus pandemic and the threat of attacks after the Jan. 6 Capitol insurrection. The events included the swearing-in ceremony and a star-studded “Celebrate America” concert with high-profile celebrities and hosted by actor Tom Hanks.
At the end of the day, Varghese took to Twitter: “What a way to end this incredible day,” he wrote. “In awe of this team and grateful to work all the talented, creative and determined people.
Before heading the inauguration, Varghese played an important part in the Biden-Harris campaign as its chief operating officer. In that role, he ran the logistics for the nationwide campaign, mobilizing tens of thousands of staff and volunteers. He also served as a senior adviser to the former vice president.
During the Obama-Biden administration, he served as President Obama’s special assistant and the deputy director of advance, a position in which he worked on organizing his travel in the U.S. and abroad., including organizing Obama’s 2015 trip to India for the Republic Day celebrations. He later became assistant to the president for administration and management overseeing the White House complex in the Obama administration.
Varghese was born in the U.S. to parents who immigrated from Thiruvalla, Kerala. It was his mother, Saroja Varghese, who first landed alone in this country as a nurse in 1972 after working with the Indian Air Force. She was later joined by her husband and elder daughter, Manju.
Varghese has taken to Twitter extensively, to share his parents’ immigration story.
On Oct. 26, 2020, replying to a tweet by The Week, which shared a profile on Varghese, he wrote: “The last few months of his life, my father lost the ability to stand up on his own. I plan to spend the rest of my days standing up for him, my Mom and all immigrants. Proud of my family, their journey and proud to work for @JoeBiden.”
In a Dec. 10, 2020 tweet, Varghese wrote, “48 yrs ago today, my Mom stepped foot in this country for the first time. With hope and hard work, a young nurse from a small town in south India changed the fortunes of generations to follow. Let’s renew the promise that brought her here. 41 days.”
Earlier in November, he shared a photo of his father and him and wrote: “I lost my Dad 6 years ago. In the years since, like @JoeBiden mentioned, I ask myself if I make him proud. This hero and my Mom gave me a shot at an amazing life and a chance to chase every dream. Like the VP said tonight, “hope never dies.” It never does. Thanks, Boss.”
A month later, on Dec. 15, 2019, he shared an old photo of his parents. “Family, faith, hope and kindness,” he wrote. “These two heroes provided a daily lesson. I can’t thank my parents enough for everything. We found this photo from around 1984, about a decade into their American journey. Miss my Dad but that hope….it never dies.”
Varghese studied political science and economics at the University of Massachusetts, and got his judicial law degree from Hofstra University in New York, according to his LinkedIn profile.
He met his wife, Julie, when they were both working for the former presidential candidate Al Gore’s election campaign. The couple has a 14-year-old son, Evan.