First Ladies and Second Gentlemen

 First Ladies and Second Gentlemen

“Hey, Dr. Biden, how are you-how’re you doing?” the driver of a Teamsters Local 633 pickup truck called out cheerfully to Jill Biden, Ed.D., one day this fall when she was campaigning for her husband in New Hampshire. The other occupants of the truck offered similar greetings. In recent days, the soon-to-be First Lady’s use of the title “Dr.” has inspired an unaccountable spate of anger on the right. In a Wall Street Journal opinion piece, Joseph Epstein wrote that it “sounds and feels fraudulent, not to say a touch comic.” Tucker Carlson, on Fox, called her “poor, illiterate Jill Biden.” Yet the Teamsters, like any number of people whom Biden has encountered in the political world and in academia over the years, had no problem using the honorific. (The community-college students she teaches call her Dr. B.) The only novel aspect of the encounter in New Hampshire came when she gestured to a man standing next to her and asked, “You met Doug, right? Everybody met Doug?”Illustration by João FazendaThey had met Doug Emhoff, the husband of Vice-President-elect Kamala Harris, and many more Americans will get to know him in the weeks leading up to her swearing in, alongside Joe Biden’s, on January 20th. When Biden announced his selection of Harris as his running mate, he said that Emhoff would be a “barrier-breaker” as the first Second Gentleman of the United States. He will also be the first Jewish person to be a Second (or First) Spouse, and he and Harris will be the first interracial couple in their position. And yet, if Emhoff is an unconventional figure, it is mostly because his wife is one on a more historic scale: the first woman and the first Black or So
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Redak staff

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