Douglas Emhoff, the husband of Democratic vice presidential nominee Kamala Harris, knew his wife had been picked as Joe Biden’s running mate when he heard her say: “Joe, I’m ready to go to work.”
The 55-year-old entertainment lawyer was listening in on her conversation with the Democratic presidential candidate with his ear pressed against her office door when he knew his wife had been chosen, according to USA Today.
Ms Harris will be the first African American, Asian American and woman to serve as vice president if the Democrats win in November, but Mr Emhoff will make history too, as the US’s first Second Gentleman.
If the Democrats win later this year, the 55-year-old will also become the first Jewish American spouse of a vice president, and will be part of a history making couple.
Soon after Ms Harris was announced as the Democratic vice presidential nominee, Mr Biden told him: “Doug, you’re going to have to learn what it means to be a barrier-breaker yourself.”
Mr Emhoff was born in New York in 1964, but moved to California when he was 17, where he went on to attain a Bachelor of Arts degree from California State University and a Juris Doctor from the USC Gould School of Law.
After working for firms as an entertainment lawyer, he set up his own company in 2000, which was acquired by law firm Venable in 2006.
The 55-year-old soon became the managing director of its West Coast offices, which is where he was working when he met Ms Harris in 2013, while she was still employed as an attorney.
He married Ms Harris in 2014, in a ceremony officiated by her sister Maya Harris, and has two children, Cole and Ella, from a previous marriage with Kerstin Emhoff, who are now stepchildren to the Democratic senator.
Ella and Cole, named after Ella Fitzgerald and Cole Porter, have embraced Ms Harris as part of their family since she married Mr Emhoff in 2014, and have nicknamed her “Mamala”.
Speaking in a video message during the 2020 Democratic National Convention (DNC), Ella said: “To my brother and me, you'll always be `Mamala,' the world's greatest stepmom,” and added: “You're a rock, not just for our dad, but for three generations of our big, blended family.”
In 2017, three years after they married, Mr Emhoff left Venable to join DLA Piper, in order to spend time working in California and Washington, DC, which Ms Harris has to travel between as a senator.
He took a leave of absence from his job once Ms Harris was confirmed as Mr Biden’s running mate in August, and has accompanied her on various events since.
Mr Emhoff first made headlines earlier in the year when he wrestled a microphone from a protester, while his wife was still seeking to become the Democratic nominee for president.
After the incident, the 55-year-old tweeted that he would “do anything for her".
When Ms Harris was announced as Mr Biden’s pick for vice president, Jill Biden, who served as the US second lady during the Obama administration and has been married to the former vice president since 1977, tweeted: “Hey @DouglasEmhoff. Are you ready?” and he responded: “Ready to work! Let’s go.”
— Doug Emhoff (@DouglasEmhoff) August 11, 2020
He made his first full public remarks at the DNC, at an LGBT+ Caucus, that took place virtually due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.
He has since gone on to speak at various events and told a virtual campaign event for Jewish supporters that Mr Biden is a “menschy dude,” and added that “we need a mensch in the White House”.
Mr Emhoff is poised to become better known to people all across the US in the next two months as the presidential campaign comes to a conclusion.
Recently speaking about the possibility of becoming the first US Second Gentleman and first Jewish American spouse of a vice president, he said that he understands the importance of his role.
“Everyone’s got an opinion on this, which is nice to hear,” he said at a campaign event, according to USA Today.
“Which means people are actually excited about the prospect of someone like me in this role – and I get that.”
“The thing I loved about Doug is, he's just a chill dude,” Peter Buttigieg’s partner Chasten said. “He's not a politician. He is doing his thing because he loves his wife.”