Kamala Harris has made history by being the first woman Vice President Elect, and will continue to break new ground as America’s first female Vice President along with first African American and South Asian American in the role. But her husband, Doug, will also enter the history books when he assumes a brand new title: Second Gentleman.
In the UK we’ve already had two First Gentlemen, Margaret Thatcher’s husband Dennis (soon to be played by soap star Stephen Boxer in The Crown) and more recently Theresa May’s Philip. And they’ve quietly occupied the role, either on the golf course, in Dennis’s case, or taking Melania Trump to a primary school (as a visitor, not a pupil) in Philip’s. But over the Atlantic, Second Gentleman Doug Emhoff is about to show them how it’s done.
Taking Melania Trump to a primary school (as a visitor, not a pupil)...
Born to a Brooklyn fashion shoe designer, Emhoff’s family moved from New York to California when he was a teenager, and he led a pretty normal life, rising to be a high-flying lawyer until he met Kamala Harris in 2014. Here’s everything you need to know about the first Second Gentleman.
Firsts all round…
For a couple with more firsts than Lewis Hamilton already, 56 year old Doug Emhoff now brings one of his own: somewhat surprisingly as the 49th Vice Presidential spouse he will be the first Jewish person married to a VP.
I had to go through every single Second Lady and cross-reference with every single VP for this pointless statistic...
They are also the closest VP and spouse in age ever, being born just a week apart (I had to go through every single Second Lady and cross-reference with every single VP for this pointless statistic. An hour of my life for that factoid. Please savour it).
Long divorced (Emhoff will be the 3rd divorced VP spouse in a row, joining Jill Biden and Karen Pence), he went on a blind date with the future Vice President when she was California’s Attorney General and he was a California lawyer, which must’ve been a slightly strange vibe.
They were set up on the date by filmmaker Reginald Hudlin, one of Emhoff’s clients and his wife PR consultant Chrisette Hudlin, one of Harris’s best friends. Encouragingly for any singles out there, the couple hit it off straight away and were married five months later in Santa Barbara in 2014 (Harris’ sister Maya presided over the ceremony).
Encouragingly for any singles out there [they] were married five months later...
Kamala Harris’s first speech, accepting her nomination as Joe Biden’s running mate back in August included the memorable line “I’ve had a lot of titles in my career… and certainly, Vice President will be great. But ‘momala’ will always be the one that means the most”
With Doug came two grown-up children, Cole and Ella, who now refer to the future VP as “Momala” (geddit?). Harris, along with Emhoff, is also close with his ex-wife, film producer Kerstin Emhoff.
$1m a year lawyer
As a partner at law firm DLA Piper, Emhoff brings home around $1,000,000 per year, working across the firm’s Washington DC and California offices.
He joined the company in 2017, having previously set up his own boutique law firm, which was subsequently bought out by a competitor, giving Emhoff a career bounce that later saw him join international firm DLA Piper.
His practice area is entertainment law, which (for law) sounds pretty interesting, representing “high-profile individuals and influencers”…
…And the psycho chihuahua
His most famous client might be the Taco Bell Chihuahua, a mini hound that starred in ads for American fast food chain Taco Bell.
Emhoff defended a law suit on behalf of the ad’s creator against Taco Bell, who tried to pass on a legal bill after another ad agency said it had already created the “Psycho Chihuahua” character for Taco Bell.
Defending his client, Emhoff saved the company $42 million (£32 million).
A staunch support
Doug Emhoff took a leave of absence from his law firm in August to support his wife’s VP campaign, but he’s been a familiar sight since Harris fought in the primaries, which saw her battle against the strongest Democratic field of presidential hopefuls in modern history. Although a front-runner, Harris pulled out in December before finally endorsing Biden in March (despite some fiery moments between the two in the primary debates).
Throughout her recent career Emhoff has been on-hand, famously leaping to his wife’s defence to bundle an animal rights protester off-stage, supporting her throughout the Presidential election (he even has his own hashtag, #Doughive).
Unlikely sex symbol…
Ever since The Forward wrote a feature declaring “Kamala Harris’ Husband Doug Emhoff Is Our Hot Jewish Dad Crush” more and more people have jumped on the bandwagon.
The Jewish newspaper wrote “If Bernie Sanders is a Zayde, Doug Emhoff is a Zaddy.” helpfully adding “Zaddy” is a slang term for a mature man who has raw sex appeal and possibly, a mortgage.”
The Guardian even wrote an article asking ‘Is it feminist to be obsessed with Kamala Harris’s husband?’
Future political force?
Unlike their British counterparts, who flee the political limelight, Doug Emhoff looks set to turn the newly-minted role of Second Gentleman into his own platform.
Having previously said he had no interest in getting involved in politics he yesterday quit his job at DLA Piper with a plan to use his White House role.
We're now completely #Doughive obsessed!
A campaign spokesman announced “Mr Emhoff is working with the Biden-Harris transition team to develop the portfolio he will focus on to support the work of the administration”.
So suffice it to say, this isn’t the last we’ve heard of Doug Emhoff. Which is good, because we’re now completely #Doughive obsessed!