I Might Be the First Second Gentleman, But I Don’t Want to Be the Last

The moment I met Kamala, I knew I was in love. Not just because of who she is—the warm, funny, and compassionate woman who grounds our family—but also because of the deep resolve with which she fights for the causes she believes in. As we built our lives together, we began joining our families and traditions. And though I had always admired and supported her work, until recently, our professional lives had remained separate worlds.

That changed the day Joe Biden called and asked her to join the ticket as his running mate. On that day it quickly became clear that this wasn’t just about my love for my wife, but also about my love for this country. Stepping back from my career as an entertainment lawyer was a decision that we made together—this was about something bigger than either of us.

Courtesy of Adam Schultz for Joe Biden

I was so touched by the kindness that Joe and Jill showed in welcoming us in as “honorary Bidens.” We soon learned that we shared a bond, rooted in family and service—and the immense responsibility that we were taking on together. To be sure, I had some sense of what I was signing up to do. But once I got out on the trail alongside Joe and Jill and Kamala, the full picture of what our country was facing came into focus, and I had a chance to see America like I had never seen it before. The folks I met, and the stories I heard, will be with me forever.

In so many ways, our nation is in pain right now, and that’s not something I will ever be able to unsee.

The moment Kamala joined the ticket, I was swept along for the ride. It was a pretty humbling experience. I had never given a stump speech or worked a (COVID-safe) rope line, and let’s be honest—no one knew who I was. All of a sudden, people were asking me for photos. Reporting on every word I said. Speculating about my policy stances and thoughts on a future administration’s priorities. It was surreal.

Courtesy of Doug Emhoff
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