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Douglas Emhoff: meet America's 'First Husband'

Kamala Harris as vice-president will come with plenty of firsts. Not only will she be the first female, the first African American and the first Asian American to hold the post, but her husband Doug Emhoff will also become the nation’s first “second gentleman”. He will also be the first Jew in the quartet of American presidents, vice presidents and their spouses.

Mr Emhoff, 56, has already shown himself to be a proud supporter of his wife. In August, he took a leave of absence from the law firm where he is a partner in order to work on her election campaign with Joe Biden. He also constantly tweets loving comments in praise of her.

He has not been out of work for long though, taking a job teaching entertainment law at the Georgetown University Law Centre.

“I’ve long wanted to teach and serve the next generation of young lawyers,” he said when the appointment was announced in mid-December. “I couldn’t be more excited.”

Although he is unlikely to have a formal political role in the White House, Mr Emhoff would be expected to appear alongside Harris regularly, in the full glare of the media spotlight. 

A lawyer born in New York who spent much of his childhood in New Jersey, the pair met on a blind date in 2013 and instantly hit it off. Mr Emhoff emailed the following morning with a series of dates for the next meeting, saying: “I want to see if we can make this work.” They married a year later. 

Ms Harris is his second wife. He has two adult children – Cole and Ella – from his first marriage who apparently affectionately call Ms Harris “Momala”. He is still close to ex-wife, Kerstin, and she volunteered on Ms Harris’ vice presidential campaign.

Much has been made of his unerring support of his wife’s political career. When Ms Harris announced she was Mr Biden’s running mate, he tweeted “America, let’s do it.”

Read more: When is Joe Biden’s inauguration?

U.S. Vice President-elect Kamala Harris and her husband Doug Emhoff hold a T-shirt as they visit the Downtown Holiday Market in Washington

On hearing the news that Kamala Harris was the vice-present elect, Mr Emhoff took to Twitter to share a photo hugging his wife, with the caption “So proud of you.”

His bio on the site describes him as a dad,  lawyer, advocate for justice and equality, and “hubby”.

Over the last few months, his days and nights have been dedicated to helping his wife and Mr Biden triumph, but he has been clear that his is a supporting role. 

“I’m not overly political. I’m overly her husband,” he told Marie Claire.

Mr Emhoff has been deliberately vague when it comes to what he plans to do while he holds the position of “second gentleman”. Aside from telling David Letterman that he wants to “help people get access to legal services” during a campaign fundraising event, he has stuck to platitudes about helping his wife “heal the nation”.

As the first ever “second gentleman” – the slightly awkward title for the male spouse of the vice president – he would still face intense scrutiny. 

In March 2019, shortly after Harris had announced her presidential bid, TV talk show host Jimmy Kimmel joked that he wasn’t sure America was “ready for a first lady named Doug”.

“In fact he’s very much enjoying being the ‘spouse of’,” quipped back Harris. “He’s very secure.”

Source: Douglas Emhoff: meet America’s ’First Husband’

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