Doug Emhoff reveals he’s being advised by Karen Pence

Former lawyer admits that part of his role has traditionally been ‘genderised’

Gino Spocchia
Thursday 11 November 2021 15:54

Kamala Harris arrives in Paris to ease France-US tensions

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Doug Emhoff has revealed that he has been receiving advice from Karen Pence on how to get along as second gentleman of the United States.

The 57-year-old husband of Kamala Harris became the first man to take the title of second gentleman in January, thanks to Ms Harris’s inauguration as America’s first female, first South Asian and first Black vice president.

He admitted in a recent interview with Time that former second lady Karen Pence had lent him a helping hand, and had been “very gracious in giving advice”.

She was formerly first lady of Indiana, where her husband and former vice president Mike Pence was governor.

Chasten Buttigieg has also been helping Mr Emhoff, according to the interview. He is married to US Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg, and the two men have been friends since the Democratic presidential primaries.

For Mr Emhoff, being second gentleman has reportedly been a learning curve in the past 11 months. He formerly worked as a lawyer in Los Angeles, where he and Ms Harris lived before relocating to Washington DC.

He said in the past 11 months he has travelled to 30 US states and dozens of Covid-19 vaccination sites — as well as travelling overseas and to Paris, France, this week to support the Biden amdministration and Ms Harris rebuild trans-Atlantic ties.

He told Time of his role, “Some of those things are genderised, where, ‘Oh, a man can’t pick wallpaper and pick china”, [but] I’m married to Kamala Harris, and she’s going to have some opinions on china and wallpaper.”

The job of a second lady, or gentleman in Mr Emhoff’s case, is often wide and includes hosting people, as well as promoting the work of the White House.

“I’m doing things that I probably wouldn’t have done,” Mr Emhoff added, “because one: it’s part of the job. And two: it helps her.”

He added in the interview that he “just got overwhelmed” on Inauguration Day, when he appeared to forget where to stand as his wife walked up the stage.

Mr Emhoff’s former wife has, in recent days, tweeted that her former husband was “doing great!” and “We are all so proud”. The pair are known to be supportive of one another, and have two children together.

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