SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) – At the Biden White House, the first lady is keen to keep her teaching job and the second man is considering leaving his law firm to support the vice president’s career.
When it comes to political marriages, we have reached a new moment.
Doug Emhoff, the 56-year-old husband of Vice President-elect Kamala Harris, will leave his private law firm by inauguration day to focus on his role in the White House, a spokesperson said on Tuesday. . He has said little so far about how he will approach the role and is still working with the transition team on any issues he will address.
“We’ve been waiting for this kind of gender shift for decades now,” said Kim Nalder, a political science professor who focused on women and gender at California State University-Sacramento. She added: “There is a lot of symbolism of a man taking a step back from his high profile career in order to support his wife’s career.”
Emhoff’s decision to sever ties with DLA Piper also offered a first test of how a Biden administration would avoid potential ethical issues. Although Emhoff is not a lobbyist, the company has a strong presence with the federal government on behalf of clients such as Comcast, Raytheon, and the government of Puerto Rico. He took a leave of absence from cabinet in August when Biden chose Harris, a U.S. senator from California, as his running mate.
While Emhoff has built a career as a leading entertainment lawyer in Southern California, he has been most visible to voters as Harris’ supporting husband. He quickly befriended other political wives in the Democratic primary, when Harris sought the party nomination.
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“I want more women in power, and I want more partners, whoever they partner with, to support them and provide them with an opportunity and an environment for success,” Emhoff said in an October interview with digital site NowThis News. He was not available for an interview with the Associated Press.
Chasten Buttigieg, the husband of former presidential candidate Pete Buttigieg, said the two quickly befriended by exchanging stories about the people they met and their weird experiences of “fish out of it”. water “as political spouses. Emhoff complimented Chasten Buttigieg on his speeches at events and never approached him as a competitor.
“He was just there for the right reasons,” said Chasten Buttigieg. “It was because he loved his wife, and he thought she would make a great president.”
Buttigieg, who also reportedly broke barriers as a male presidential groom, said he remembered how often he was asked what title he would use, a question that seemed frivolous. (Emhoff hasn’t officially picked his title. But Biden called him a “second gentleman.”) Buttigieg expects Emhoff to thrive in his new job as an official.
“You just have to be someone that people can see themselves in,” he said. “People love to chat and take pictures with him. He’s always full of jokes about dads and he’s really disarming.
Emhoff embraced his role as a political surrogate during the campaign. He will be the first Jewish spouse of a president or vice president, and he has been an important liaison with Jewish groups and donors.
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He also developed a close friendship with Jill Biden, a former second lady, and the two often campaigned together in states such as Iowa and New Hampshire during the primary. Jill Biden has said she wants to continue teaching at a community college, as she did when Joe Biden was vice president.
Harris tweeted a photo of her and Emhoff smiling on Monday the night Biden was announced the election winner.
“Meet the love of my life,” she told her 11 million followers.
It was Emhoff who filmed a video of Harris calling Biden after news of their victory, which she shared on social media.
Harris and Emhoff met in 2013 and tied the knot a year later. It was Harris’ first marriage and Emhoff’s second; her children are in their twenties and call Harris “Momala”, a play on her name and a Yiddish word for “little mother”.
The two were created by a friend, and Harris remembers the scrutiny she faced as a single woman in her forties and her reluctance to speak publicly about her relationships in her memoir, “The Truths We hold “. She first introduced Emhoff in public during a speech in 2014 about an absenteeism initiative she had been pursuing. His team referred to everything that was to follow as AD – After Doug.
“They knew how much he made me laugh. Me too, she writes.
Harris was Attorney General of California at the time, and Emhoff practiced law as the managing director of the west coast branch of Venable LLP, dealing with clients in the entertainment industry with an emphasis on litigation in trademark and intellectual property. He had previously represented clients such as Merck, Walmart and an arms dealer based in Fresno, Calif., Clients who today seem out of step with the progressive wings of the Democratic Party.
When Harris began his tenure in the US Senate in 2017, Emhoff moved to DLA Piper, which had a presence in Washington and Los Angeles, where Harris and Emhoff shared their time. More recently, he has represented clients including a production company and a prominent winemaker.
John Bessler, husband of Minnesota Senator Amy Klobuchar, who is also a lawyer, called Emhoff a “modern man” for devoting time to Harris’ political career rather than his own.
“This is just another example of how he supports Kamala,” he said.