On Wednesday, the Second Gentleman Douglas Emhoff will convene a roundtable with Jewish leaders from across the country, according to President Joe Biden’s Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre.
Jean-Pierre told reporters on Monday that the roundtable will include leaders of Jewish organizations fighting antisemitism that represent a wide range of Jewish communities from students to seniors, including Reform, Conservative, and Orthodox denominations.
The Second Gentleman will be joined by Ambassador Susan Rice, White House Domestic Policy Advisor; Ambassador Deborah Lipstadt, Special Envoy to Monitor and Combat Antisemitism; and Keisha Lance Bottoms, Senior Advisor to the President for Public Engagement.
According to Jean-Pierre, Emhoff “felt it was important to host the roundtable given the rise, as I just was mentioning, of antisemitism that we have seen over the past several months and even longer. This is something the Second Gentleman takes very personally. He is the first Jewish person in this role, the first Jewish individual married to a President or a Vice President. He has said himself that he is in pain and that this is something we cannot normalize. And that’s one of the reasons, as I just laid out, that he wanted to do this personally.”
Asked whether the roundtable was something that Emhoff had asked for or something that the President directed him to do, the press secretary said, “Well, I just laid out: The President has — has been very clear in condemning antisemitism, the hate that we have been seeing — racism, the increase of hatred that we’ve been seeing just the past several months. So, this is something that his administration more broadly is going to continue to do when we talk about condemning that type of speech.”
Then she added, “But, look, I just laid out: This is something, when it comes to this roundtable that the Second Gentleman is holding — it’s something that is very personal to him and important for him that he believed that he needed to do. And clearly, you know, it’s part of the — our administration’s response. And certainly, we welcome — we’ll welcome it.”
Doug Emhoff, 58, the first-ever husband of a vice president, is also the first Jewish spouse of a vice president. Emhoff was married for 16 years to film producer Kerstin Emhoff, and they had two children, Cole and Ella. He married Kamala Harris on August 22, 2014, in Santa Barbara, California, with Kamala’s sister, attorney Maya Harris, officiating. Emhoff and Harris’s estimated net worth is around $6 million.