Kamala Harris' husband Doug Emhoff to be first 'second gentleman'

Emhoff marks another milestone: he would be the first Jew to be part of America's first or second families

Published: 08th November 2020 03:18 AM  |   Last Updated: 08th November 2020 03:26 AM   |  A+A-

Democratic vice-presidential candidate Kamala Harris (L) and her husband Douglas Emhoff

Democratic vice-presidential candidate Kamala Harris (L) and her husband Douglas Emhoff. (Photo| Twitter/ @DouglasEmhoff)


WASHINGTON: When Kamala Harris makes history as the first woman and first Black US vice president, her husband Doug Emhoff will break his own new ground: as the original "second husband."

Harris and Emhoff, who married in 2014 -- she for the first time, he for the second -- will also be the first mixed-race couple to occupy their positions. He is white while she is the daughter of Indian and Jamaican immigrants. Both are 56.

The contours of Emhoff's new role as the nation's "second husband" -- some prefer "second gentleman" -- have yet to be determined; he has been vague about his plans so far. 

Traditionally, the spouses of presidents and vice presidents have been expected to forge a careful balance of supportiveness and independence. Many pick a charitable cause to promote.

Emhoff, who was credited as a "secret weapon" on the campaign trail for his wife -- even earning his own following on social media -- is an accomplished lawyer specializing in media, sports and entertainment law.

He took leave in August from the multinational DLA Piper, which has lobbying offices in Washington. That could raise prickly conflicts of interest with Harris's work.

Emhoff has been publicly vague about whether he will stay with the firm, though he ha stold interviewers he might want to pursue pro bono legal work.

Emhoff marks another milestone: he would be the first Jew to be part of America's first or second families.

Friends have described him as a less-than-observant Jew but one who identifies strongly with, and is deeply shaped by, Judaism. 

The Jewish publication Forward embraced him as the "Second Mensch." When its reporter asked Emhoff's mother Barbara about his religious upbringing, she was coy, but offered: "He was bar mitzvahed in New Jersey, I can tell you that."

Born in Brooklyn and raised in New Jersey, he is said to have happy memories of Jewish summer camp, where he won athletic awards.

While in high school, his father moved the family to Los Angeles. Emhoff earned a law degree at the University of Southern California, then worked at other law firms before reaching DLA Piper.

When Emhoff met Harris on a blind date arranged by friends, it was "love at first sight," he later said. 

His children by his first marriage -- Cole, named after John Coltrane, and Ella, named after Ella Fitzgerald -- have embraced their stepmother as "Momala." 

Emhoff's ex-wife Kerstin Mackin remains friendly and even joins the family at Thanksgiving.

The "second husband-elect," incidentally, shares one thing with Donald Trump: both are avid golfers.   


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  • Ravi Pandya

    Wouldnt it be great,healing if Biden appoints the only Hindu Congresslady Tulsi Gabbard in his team as Chief of Staff or Foreign Secretary so all religions are represented top down,i.e Including Bidens Catholic faith,very important to Him as well as Kamlas Baptist and her husbands Jewish faiths could become inclusive where East meets West in a multi cultural,multi faith society where Gods andd goddesses are equally worshiped without fear or favour for a new millenia,era? Food for thoought.Agree to disagree,debate as faith,spirituality matters and can help,heal or hinder overcoming racism,sexism..?
    1 year ago reply
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