Doug Emhoff is set to leave his job as a lawyer to support his wife’s role as VP
Joe Biden and Kamala Harris are set to make history when they step into their duties as President and Vice President at the end of January, but their spouses are also breaking all sorts of barriers and shattering stereotypes. Jill Biden has previously said that when she assumes her First Lady duties, she’s not going to quit her day job teaching at a community college (as she did when Biden was VP), which would make her the first FLOTUS to keep her full-time job. And Harris’ husband Doug Emhoff is going to leave his private law practice to focus on his role at the White House, and yassss, normalize stay-at-home husbands! Equality starts in the home, even if that home is the White House!
A spokesperson for Harris and Emhoff told the AP that come inauguration day, he will cut ties with DLA Piper, his private law practice, from where he’s actually been on a leave of absence since Harris joined the Biden campaign over the summer. Emhoff hasn’t officially selected his title, though Biden has referred to him as the “second gentleman.” Also, Emhoff is already breaking boundaries by becoming the first Jewish spouse of a president or a vice president.
Between Emhoff and Dr. Jill Biden, this is one modern pair of political spouses. During an interview with CBS in August, Dr. Biden — an English professor who holds a doctorate in education and kept teaching throughout her eight years as Second Lady — said she had no plans to ditch her job when her husband becomes president.
“If we get to the White House, I’m gonna continue to teach,” she said over the summer. “It’s important, and I want people to value teachers and know their contributions, and lift up the profession.”
Emhoff, on the other hand, has worked as a lawyer for most of his life, and is still working with the transition team on what causes he’ll support and tackle in the White House. For example, Mike Pence’s wife Karen promotes art therapy and focuses on military families.
“We’ve been waiting for this sort of gender switch for decades now,” Kim Nalder, a professor of political science at California State University-Sacramento told the AP. “There is a lot of symbolism from a man stepping back from his high-powered career in order to support his wife’s career.”
It’s progressive, it’s awesome, and the country is ready for a second gentleman with big “wife guy” energy in the White House.