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CNN Live Event/Special
Being The Second Gentleman. Aired 12-1p ET
Aired December 25, 2022 - 12:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
DANA BASH, CNN HOST (voice-over): What's it like being the first second gentleman?
DOUGLAS EMHOFF, SECOND GENTLEMAN OF THE UNITED STATES: Who we are has never been in here. These halls.
BASH: Doug Emhoff is making history of his own.
(On-camera): What is your job?
(Voice-over): As he redefines an old role for a new generation.
EMHOFF: There's this toxicity, this masculine idea of what a man is.
BASH: A father --
EMHOFF: It's the kids' initials. I just really wanted a reminder of what's important for me.
BASH: Who with the vice president is marking many firsts.
EMHOFF: This is (INAUDIBLE). It was very emotional to be able to do this.
BASH: While still trying to make time for each other.
EMHOFF: We're not each other's chief of staff. We're husband and wife.
BASH: It's the opportunity of a lifetime for the former entertainment lawyer who gave up his job to support his wife.
EMHOFF: Men need to support women.
BASH: In this series, we talk to people in politics and pop culture, and find out what it's like to be them. Now BEING THE SECOND GENTLEMAN.
(On-camera): What's it like to be the first second gentleman?
EMHOFF: I'm only the first second gentleman because the country elected the first woman vice president, so I look at it really mostly in that lens. I'm here because I'm her husband. I'm here to support her.
KAMALA HARRIS, VICE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: So help me God --
BASH (voice-over): He's also rewriting unspoken rules and roadmaps largely designed by men for women.
EMHOFF: There's a library at the residence where we live, and it's I think every single book ever written by a vice president, about a vice president, about the vice presidency, and our favorite one's title is "Vice Presidents and Second Ladies." And think about it. We're going to need a new book because there's now a man in this role, and I say half-jokingly, I may be the first, I better not be the last.
BASH (on-camera): What do you think that sort of title or the headline of that book should be?
EMHOFF: It should not even be a big deal that I'm a man going forward. We need to have more women in leadership. There needs to be more women in government, more women in the business world, more women in communications, more women in the military, you name it. So I want to be in a world where this is not unique, this is not unique at all.
BASH (voice-over): But for now, it is unique which means deciding whether he'll take on some of the traditional duties like party planning and holiday decorating that Americans think of when they think about first and second ladies.
(On-camera): Picking the China patterns and arranging the dinners and doing more of the social aspects. Do you do any of that?
EMHOFF: Things like that we will do together, my wife and I, the vice president. But because of the circumstances in which we took office and the time, really mostly focused on COVID and vaccinations and just fanning out across the country to see what was going on, and a lot of what I did was listen. A lot of small group meetings, hear what was happening on the ground and bring it back to the administration. So it hasn't been a lot of time for the ceremonial part, maybe there will be moving forward.
BASH: Was there any part of you that thought, I better do the ceremonial stuff because that's what a woman would do?
EMHOFF: Well, I don't -- I don't want to genderize it. I think we're a married couple and we do a lot of these things together. So if there's things that we need to pick out or decorations or if we're having an event and -- I'll give my input. But it's like how we are as a typical married couple, what we would do in other life. We look at things together, we pick it out, and we're both busy and we move on. So I'm not trying to make it where this is my job.
BASH: What is your job?
EMHOFF: First and foremost is to support her. We work in an office called Office of the Vice President, and this office that you're sitting in is really here to support the vice president, support the president, support the administration any way we can. In addition to being her husband.
BASH (voice-over): Since Abigail Adams in 1779, a vice president's spouse was a woman. Emhoff calls one of those women his mentor, now First Lady Jill Biden.
(On-camera): Was there a crash course when you came into this? I know there was no manual to be the second gentleman because it didn't exist before, but to be the second spouse?
EMHOFF: There's no manual. And Dr. Biden said as much to me because I did ask her, well, you had this role, what can I expect? She said, first, you won't believe me if I told you, and two, it's just going to be different for you because you're a man. And she's a woman. And you're the first one. And kind of the times we're in right now. But just be yourself, be authentic, and support her.
BASH (voice-over): The term second lady was first used in the 1890s, but there wasn't much of a public role until Pat Nixon started traveling independent of her husband to promote causes. There are now five living former second ladies, Marilyn Quayle, Tipper Gore, Lynn Cheney, Jill Biden, and Karen Pence.
(On-camera): Who did you talk to?
EMHOFF: I talked to Mrs. Pence. I talked to --
BASH: Was she helpful?
EMHOFF: She was. She was. We had a very nice conversation.
BASH: What was the most important advice she gave you?
EMHOFF: She was very helpful because having been in the residence right before, there's a lot of, you know, just nonintuitive things that happen living in this type of a situation that she was very helpful with.
BASH: Like what?
EMHOFF: Just from paying the bills, how does food get in, and just -- you've seen a lot of the security. So just the basics of everyday life, very helpful. Of course I've talked to our now first lady many, many times. I talked to Tipper Gore, as well.
BASH: What'd she tell you?
EMHOFF: She had a great historical perspective on the residence and what it was like to raise a family there. And just some of the -- just the history of it because I really wanted to get a sense of what I was getting into.
BASH (voice-over): Emhoff has had a sense of what he was getting into from the beginning.
HARRIS: We cannot delay or deny individuals their civil rights.
BASH: He met the now-vice president later in life when she was a rising political star and he was a successful corporate and entertainment lawyer.
(On-camera): A lot of couples in politics, they get together young and they kind of work their way up the ladder together. You and the vice president met as adults, well into adulthood.
BASH: And she was already the attorney general of the state of California.
BASH: You never had anonymity with her, meaning as a couple from the minute you met, it was already a relationship in the public eye.
EMHOFF: But not like this.
BASH: Not like this.
EMHOFF: People knew her. It was funny because she was living in San Francisco at the beginning, and I was living in L.A. And I'd been an entertainment lawyer for a long time. So we'd be in L.A., and people would come up to me, hey, Doug, how's it going? How does everyone know you? I said, you know, it was kind of -- somebody here in this town before I met you.
So it's pretty funny to have had her see that. So we were able to have a normal kind of trajectory on the relationship in those early days. We can go to dinner, go to movies, and maybe a few people would come and say hi and take a picture or two. But nothing like -- nothing like now.
BASH (voice-over): He left his law firm in the days after the election and now has his own office in the White House complex.
EMHOFF: Up there is the second gentleman wood cutout.
BASH: Where he displays proud possessions like this sign he says was given to him during the 2020 campaign made by a veteran suffering from post-traumatic stress.
EMHOFF: They presented me with the second gentleman sign. I said, well, I can't take this, we haven't won. I --
BASH (on-camera): Yes.
EMHOFF: OK. If we win, I'm going to put that in my office. So promise made, promise kept.
BASH: So tell me about this photo.
EMHOFF: So this is the first flight that we both took on Air Force Two ever. So the first flight ever was together. And this was that moment after we walked up this flight of stairs which is surprisingly steep and very windy. And so of course the whole way up you're thinking, oh, my goodness, I better not trip or anything. And then you get to the top, and it's that moment that we've all seen hundreds of times of presidents and first ladies and vice presidents and second ladies just doing that turnaround. And here we are doing it. It was --
BASH: Was it out of body?
EMHOFF: It was kind of one of those surreal, overwhelming moments, and there's no construction manual for something like this, but I just love her eyes. You can see the smile and the -- just the pride.
BASH (voice-over): Coming up --
EMHOFF: Let me show you this. Probably one of my favorite spots here.
BASH: Our exclusive tour of the Naval Observatory Grounds where the second couple lives, and the second gentleman's tattoos.
(On-camera): Were you sober?
BASH (on-camera): This is really beautiful.
EMHOFF: Yes. It's a pretty amazing place.
BASH (voice-over): Being the second gentleman means living here at the U.S. Naval Observatory built in 1893.
(On-camera): This is run by the Navy.
EMHOFF: Yes. This is owned by the Navy, and it was the home of the head admiral of the Navy for all that time up until 1977 when the vice president's families started living here. And we're on a naval base. This is a working naval base.
Most of which is the atomic clock where they keep the exact time of the United States.
BASH (voice-over): We went for a tour of the grounds steeped in history.
EMHOFF: So on my left --
EMHOFF: -- is one of my favorite things.
BASH: The swing?
EMHOFF: It's a swing, and there's a plaque. And it says, "Joe loves Jill." I have never sat on it because I don't want to break it.
Let me show you this. This is...
BASH: Well, first of all, just this...
BASH: .... framing.
BASH: It's so pretty.
He took us to the Family Heritage Garden, a quiet place of reflection that honors previous vice presidential families and their pets.
EMHOFF: ... President H.W. Bush was vice president, and they lived here for eight years. There it is...
BASH: ... Millie.
BASH: Are you scared that I actually remembered the name of...
EMHOFF: I love it. I love it.
EMHOFF: Sometimes if you just sit in here knowing that you're literally amongst history, and it's such a great, beautiful, contemplative place to think about, you know, what's happening right now.
BASH: How often do your kids get here?
EMHOFF: Not enough. Not enough.
BASH: I mean, they're grown people.
Emhoff has two adult children from a previous marriage to Kerstin Emhoff. They divorced when their kids were still young. Ella is now 23, a fashion designer and model in New York who became an influencer of sorts during the 2020 campaign. And 28-year-old Cole is recently engaged and working in Hollywood.
How have they adjusted to being in the public eye even though they're not here, they're Emhoffs?
EMHOFF: I'd say Ella's, you know, in the public eye with her career. I think she's -- she's out there. I'm so proud of her. Still her dad. So I always -- you know, I see what she's doing, and I'm always just thinking about her as her dad. Cole's doing his thing. He's -- he's getting married next year. He's also in the entertainment industry. So we talk a lot. I don't see him as much as I can, but we're talking at least four or five times a week, Facetiming, texting.
One of the things I love, I'll be walking in and since, as we now know, the V.P. can't text, so she's on the phone with the kids and I'll come in, and she's laughing. Like, oh, who's that? Oh, it's Ella or Cole. So, like normal, we want -- we want to be parents first. And as -- as -- you know, as intense as this whole thing is, we want them to know we're still there for them as their parents.
BASH: Yes. Yes.
EMHOFF: And that's the goal.
BASH: But it's hard to jump on a plane and go see them if they're having a bad day or have them come here -- it's probably easier to have them come here.
EMHOFF: It -- it is. But a lot of it is the schedule, moving parts. And they're -- like, they're adults. They've got busy -- they've got jobs and busy lives. So I'd say that's -- that can be the toughest part. But I'd say if I was still a lawyer back in L.A., I'd probably be saying the same thing.
BASH: Yes, right.
Show me your tattoos. You talked about...
EMHOFF: I'll show you one. This one is...
BASH: Oh, that's two.
EMHOFF: Is very simple. OK, so I'll show you two.
EMHOFF: It's the kids' initials. And I got this shortly after Kerstin and I separated because I just really wanted a reminder of why -- what's important to me. And it was Cole and Ella. And I just wanted a visceral reminder of them. So Cole is Coltrane and Ella is Ella Fitzgerald. Very much into the jazz.
BASH: Were you always a tattoo guy?
BASH: So what made you wake up one day and say, oh, I'm going to get my kids' initials on my wrist?
EMHOFF: Like many people who got tattoos, it was a whim.
BASH: Were you sober?
EMHOFF: And I -- I just decided on the spur of the moment, you know what, this is something I want to do. I just wanted to make sure I was focused on the most important thing in my life, which is the children. And they still are.
BASH: So the other one you don't want to show me, but you can tell me, it's...
EMHOFF: It's -- it's personal to the V.P. and I.
BASH: It has to do with the year you were born.
EMHOFF: The year we -- it's in reference to the year we were born, 1964.
BASH: Mm-hmm. How many days apart are you?
EMHOFF: Seven. I got here seven days earlier.
BASH: Just to make sure everything was cool.
EMHOFF: And it took us 40-some-odd years to finally meet. But here we are.
So this is all part of the residence.
BASH: He takes daily walks on the grounds here. Now with his position and the Secret Service detail that comes with it, it's one of the only places he can be outside and alone.
EMHOFF: For instance, if I just wanted to go out and grab a cup of coffee, you've got to go with all the security. But I can walk out here.
BASH: By yourself?
EMHOFF: By myself. I mean, they're around, but I don't have to call them up and say, hey, I'm going to take a walk around the residence. You're able to do that.
BASH: This is it.
EMHOFF: And this is -- so this is, I love to walk, so a lot of times I'll just kind of walk around and just take it in and take in the beautiful nature here.
BASH: Do you have to tell them "I'm going outside" to take a walk, or do you just go and they just know?
EMHOFF: They just know. So you go right outside the gate, then you have to tell them. And I joke, it's almost like one of those movies like "Truman Show" where you just can't walk past that other side. So I'll have had family here and, you know, helping them out with their bags, and maybe their car is 20 feet from the gate at the front, I'm like, I'm so sorry. I can't do this.
BASH: Can't do it.
BASH: That is like "The Truman Show."
EMHOFF: ... it's going to take 20 minutes and I've got to call up -- call up the crew. And then you have all these cars show up.
This is the only place when we're on these grounds not on the Navy base side but on the residence side that we can walk out here. Now of course, they know, and they'll -- they're watching.
BASH: The political immigration debate has literally come to your doorstep, right, right over there.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GOV. GREG ABBOTT (R), TEXAS: The measure of what we're doing to bus people from the Rio Grande Valley or from the border region to Washington, D.C.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BASH: The area just outside the gates of the Naval Observatory made headlines after Texas Governor Greg Abbott sent busloads of migrants to the vice president's residence and left them on the sidewalk.
Republicans slammed Kamala Harris for mismanaging the border, addressing root immigration causes in Central and South America is in her portfolio.
EMHOFF: It's shameful. These are -- these are human beings, these are people, not pawns. And leaders, governors of states need to focus on actually the issue at hand and not using these folks who are fleeing immense violence and cruelty to escape.
BASH: He says it's his wife, the vice president, who helps him keep it real. OK, so what does she call you again?
BASH: OK. She calls -- oh, that was a good imitation.
EMHOFF: It doesn't matter where we are, on stage, in front of the team, it's like, "Dougie" or "my Dougie."
EMHOFF: As she's, you know, adjusting my collar and checking things out.
BASH: But your official title is second gentleman.
EMHOFF: Oh, that. Oh, SGOTUS?
EMHOFF: That's her when she's, you know, having fun with my title.
EMHOFF: She'll say "S-GOTUS!"
BASH: It's hard to say.
EMHOFF: It's hard to say, so...
BASH: And it comes out kind of like SCOTUS. Do you say "God bless you"?
BASH: Being the second gentleman means taking the role seriously but not always taking himself too seriously.
So almost two years in, do you feel like you've got a handle on what this job is, what this new job is?
EMHOFF: It's evolving, and it will keep evolving. But the constant is I'm here for her, and that hasn't changed. And that will never change.
This is the Vice President's Garden or at least part of it.
BASH: We'll have more from our exclusive tour of the Naval Observatory later. But up next, being a man who wants to help redefine masculinity. I don't know if you've heard this, but sometimes men have some fragile
EMHOFF: I read about that.
BASH: Being the second gentleman means bending gender roles every day.
You had a pretty high-power career in Los Angeles, an entertainment lawyer. You walked away from that to come here and support your wife. I don't know if you've heard this, but sometimes men have some fragile egos.
EMHOFF: I read about that.
BASH: Did yours get bruised at all? In all candor.
EMHOFF: I have a very healthy ego. I'm very confident. And I also realize this was an incredible opportunity for the country to have the first woman vice president and to have a man in this role. So yes, I love my career, I was very successful, and I -- I do miss it at times. But if I was going to leave, what better reason to leave than this? And to support her. We talked about it, and we made that decision together that it was worthwhile, me taking this pretty major step back from what I was doing.
BASH: You use the word support, and I think there are a lot of men who intellectually want to support their female partners. And then when it gets to that point, it's hard.
BASH: It's hard on your ego. You say you have a healthy ego, have there been moments like that?
EMHOFF: Yes. Like I said, you have to put year ego aside, though. And it's not about you. And I will be on -- I will be giving speeches, and one of the things I say is men need to support women.
Don't just think you're being supportive, don't just say you're being supportive, be supportive.
One, it's the right thing to do. And then, men, OK, you need to actually do it. Don't just think you're doing it. Then the women in the audience start looking around and smiling. Sometimes it's hard, and sometimes it's not what you expect, but it's the right thing to do. And if I can set an example doing it, I'm very grateful for that.
BASH: Can women ever reach full equality without men thinking and acting the way you are right now?
EMHOFF: I think men need to look at women as equals and treat them. And it's not an either/or, it's not a zero-sum game. When we lift up women, we're going to lift up our economy, we're going to lift up everything. It's not at the detriment of men. So that's what we need.
BASH: There's still a bit of a stigma with the notion of men taking a step back and being openly supportive of a woman who has a bigger role and a bigger job than the man does.
Are you trying to intentionally de-stigmatize that?
EMHOFF: Definitely. Definitely.
BASH: You think about it?
EMHOFF: I do. I do -- and not at the beginning because this was a no-brainer, but now that I'm in the role and you really see, not all men naturally would do this and would push back and then there's this toxicity, this masculine idea of what a man is that's out there that is just not correct. And that's something that you really see when you're doing this, and it's something I just want to push back on.
BASH: How do you define masculinity?
EMHOFF: Masculinity is loving your family, caring about your family, and being there for your family and supporting them each and every way. And no one would say I'm not tough and no one would ever accuse me of not being there and sticking up for those that I love. But I also care about people. I'm compassionate, Empathetic.
So, we're kind of mixing up this concept that if somehow a man shows kindness or empathy or consideration for others, that's somehow not masculine and that is just not okay. That's just not true.
BASH: A lesson Emhoff says he learned growing up in New Jersey from watching his father, Michael.
EMHOFF: He's just such a strong role model for me and he was a woman's shoe designer, and he was strong and tough, but sensitive and creative and artistic. Yet, and we talked about masculinity. I think my father is a masculine man and he just taught me, like, it's okay to, you know, focus on your family, be there for your family no matter what.
BASH: Do you ever catch yourself thinking, what would a woman do in this situation?
EMHOFF: Not what a woman do, but like, how would a woman be perceived or covered? And I'm very mindful of that. I'm very mindful of, like, the fact I'm sitting here with you and the fact that sometimes we get attention for doing things that others have done and maybe didn't get the same attention.
BASH: There was a great line that Seth Meyers used when your wife was on.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
KAMALA HARRIS, 49TH US VICE PRESIDENT: My husband Doug, the first second Gentleman of the United States.
SETH MEYERS, LATE NIGHT WITH SETH MEYERS, HOST: I do want to focus. I feel like we're not focusing enough on what white men have accomplished with your eyes.
HARRIS: I know. It's exactly we have jokes about that, too.
EMHOFF: We're laughing. But we should get to a point where that's not funny and where it's not unique to have someone like Kamala Harris as a Vice president.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BASH: Now, you've been here for almost two years, and you've obviously been around your wife as a public figure, really since you met. Do you think that the criticism of your wife is more intense because she's a woman?
EMHOFF: I don't even focus on the criticism. I just focus on her impact. I've traveled to -
DANA BASH: This is not about, like the specific criticism of her, but just in terms of what you see when it comes to gender.
EMHOFF: Yeah, probably. But so what? I'm focused on the flip side of that, the impact she's making, the impact that I see every time I travel. I can't tell you how many young girls come up and tell me how much Kamala Harris means them, fathers who come up to me and say, "Hi, I didn't even vote for you. But my daughter is so inspired by Kamala Harris because she's the first woman and vice president and all the work that she's doing."
BASH: Up next, this is the first.
EMHOFF: This is a mezuzah.
BASH: Being Jewish in this role.
EMHOFF: And I've got to tell you, where there were tears, it was very emotional to do this.
EMHOFF: Isn't this great? So, this is the veranda they call it.
BASH: Being married to the Vice President of the United States means finding moments of calm in the whirlwind of Washington. Their home at the Naval Observatory is a sanctuary for the second couple to relax.
EMHOFF: Oftentimes, say on a Sunday, when the vice president needs to catch up on binders and binders of reading. This is her spot right here. So, she'll sit here. BASH: So, let's see the view.
EMHOFF: Binders on the table. But look at the view. This is one of the few times because of her work and being in the west wing or being in her cars and traveling, it's not like you get to actually see outside and be outside.
BASH: Breathe fresh air.
EMHOFF: There'll be times when she's here and I say, "I'm going to go out and do something for a couple of hours." I come back, she's still there reading her stuff. So, when she's there, I'll maybe sit here and look at my stuff and once a while nod and say hi.
BASH: "How are you doing over there?" It's not a bad place to unwind. Amhoff isn't just the first second Gentleman, he's the first Jewish spouse of any president or vice president.
EMHOFF: American Jews everywhere and everyone else around the world watching. It is such an honor to be here tonight as the first 2nd Gentleman of the United States.
BASH: This is a first.
EMHOFF: This is a mezuzah.
BASH: A mezuzah is affixed to entrances of Jewish houses to fulfill the commandment of writing the word of God on the doorposts of their home.
EMHOFF: And this particular mezuzah has a lot of historic significance. It came from a temple in Atlanta, a temple in which Martin Luther King preached out. I knew when we moved here, we were going to have a mezuzah. We did some research, and came to our attention that this historic mezuzah existed, survived the fire, apparently, at the temple. So, my parents, both kids, and they're -- and others were able to be here, and participate in the ceremony affixing this. And I got to tell you, there were tears, was very emotional to be able to do this.
BASH: I'm sure.
EMHOFF: And it's the first mezuzah ever on the Vice President's residence, or the White House. Being with my parents who are in their 80s, and they're thinking about their lifetime, they were born in the 30s and early 40s, and what they've seen and experience, to be able to have their son and be the first Jewish person married to a vice president or president, and then to just live openly as a Jew, it sends --
EMHOFF: Proudly and openly, which is how I'm doing this. And it just -- when they saw that, it just really hit them hard. And I was very emotional.
BASH: What does it mean to you that you are the first Jewish person in this role?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We will first light the shamash and then we will say the blessings, please say --
EMHOFF: Something I take very seriously, at first, when I came into this role. I thought being a man would be the biggest deal. And it is, we've talked about that. But just kind of one, A, is being Jewish in this role. And it really hit me early on. When we did our virtual seder. And we had no idea what to expect. We just thought we'd do it and put it out there.
EMHOFF: Tens of thousands of people saw it. And immediately thereafter, everywhere I went, Jewish people were coming up to me. I never thought I'd see the day when a Jewish person was in this position, just kind of living their life openly. This is just meant so much. I grew up in the suburbs of Jersey, going to Grandma's house in Brooklyn, for the holidays, and I joke but it's common experience. It's the plastic covering on the couch. It's the born first kid. It's my mom's electric menorah. It's my three-piece, you know, valore Bar Mitzvah suit. It's -- all those cultural experiences, you know, going to Jewish summer camp. And I was Athlete of the year at a Jewish summer camp. And it's like, it's this stuff that, you know, resonates. And it's not overly talking about the religion, or focused on Israel. It's just focused on our common, you know, shared experience.
BASH (voice-over): He's held a menorah lighting here during Hanukkah, and hosted an interfaith group of students for Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish new year.
(On camera): It might be that people who aren't Jewish, might not get what a big deal it is?
EMHOFF: I think it's a big deal. But it's also, there's a black woman living in here as well. And so, when you have that realization, when we host groups, and again, the representation of her matter so much, who we are has never been in here, or the -- or these halls and it's just so -- it gets people, it's emotional. It's emotional for me just talking about it right now.
BASH (voice-over): Even more so, he says right now as antisemitism is on the rise in America.
EMHOFF: Antisemitism is everywhere right now. It's literally out in the open. People aren't hiding it. They're saying the quiet parts, not out loud, they're screaming, the quiet parts right now.
KANYE WEST, MUSICIAN: I can say antisemitic things and Adidas can't drop me, now what?
BASH: We spoke just before Kanye West grotesque rants, denigrating Jews spread like wildfire, spring events like this, an antisemitic banner unfurled off a bridge over the 405, a major highway in Los Angeles, Emhoff's adopted hometown. He released a statement saying, "We must all stand united and speak out against antisemitism. No person of any faith should have to fear violence because of what they believe."
(On camera): Have you been the victim of antisemitism?
EMHOFF: It's interesting. I have been around it when people don't realize I'm Jewish. And a lot of times in the business, in my business career, I'll be in a room and people are having their drinks and talking and someone will make our antisemitic remark, not realizing that I'm Jewish.
BASH: What do you do?
EMHOFF: And sometimes I would say something, you know, sometimes I should have and I didn't, depending on the circumstance. And I look back now, and I'm mad still, and I wish I -- there's a few moments that I wish I would have said something. But you're young, you're in the business world and you just don't know how to react. And, you know, that's why I'm always going to speak out and live the way I'm living right now.
BASH: Up next, the Second Gentleman on the road. And what's next for the second couple?
(On camera): Would you want to be the first First Gentleman?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Ladies and gentlemen, the Second Gentleman, Mr. Emhoff.
(CHEERING & APPLAUSE)
BASH: Being the Second Gentleman means hitting the road for the administration.
EMHOFF: As Second Gentleman, I get to travel around the entire country. I've been to -- I think I've been to 40 states already. And I just listen, I get to meet folks. And I get to hear what's going on.
BASH: This trip, Emhoff joint Education Secretary Miguel Cardona in Philadelphia.
EMHOFF: This administration simply but supports teachers. And we have your back.
BASH: Why education?
EMHOFF: I mean, like we need to support our teachers. I've been teaching myself part time and also traveled the country. I met so many teachers, especially during the height of the pandemic, who had to completely readjust what they're doing, kids, how they're dealing with them, and also just the mental health aspect for our children and for the teachers themselves. So, this is something that I've always been passionate about.
EMHOFF: You mentioned my wife, the Vice President, that's kind of cool to say. I'm the only person in history is able to say that.
BASH: You said that when you come home at the end of the day, your wife, the Vice President says, so Doug, what do you do today?
EMHOFF: Every time I come home.
BASH: Every time, so --
EMHOFF: She'll do it tonight.
BASH: Are you in some ways, her eyes and ears on issues that you both care about?
EMHOFF: You know, not really. It's -- first of all, I'm her husband, first and foremost. So, as you know, professional couples will do, you know, how -- tell me about your day, tell me about your day. But since we're, you know, I'm working in the administration. It's great, because I do all these events. It's not like I'm sitting there as her eyes and ears. But it's almost like you're the Vice President. I'm out there on behalf of this administration. And I'm going to tell you what's going on. So, we can turn that into action.
BASH: He represents America on the world stage, too.
EMHOFF: I've done three solo trips abroad, leading presidential delegations.
BASH: What's that like?
EMHOFF: It's incredible. It's just -- I'm just proud to represent my country. You're out there on the behalf of the President of United States representing the country and it was one, was for the Paralympics in Japan. And at that time during COVID, I was one of the few people in the stadium. So, I really felt like I was there on behalf of the entire country. And just this overwhelming sense of pride, wearing that USA jacket, holding the flag and rooting on our amazing athletes.
BASH: Are there time where you're like, wait a minute, it was like yesterday, I was an entertainment lawyer. What am I doing, leading a delegation internationally?
EMHOFF: I go further back. I say I'm just as a kid from Central Jersey, who was playing literally, and here I am representing the United States or foreign -- BASH: But you never had political ambitions?
EMHOFF: No, I was a practicing attorney. And, again, just not to say it jumped into this, but I take it seriously and those skills that you have as a lawyer, the research the study, and curiosity, and you have to bring that to the table.
BASH (voice-over): While his legal career is on hold, Emhoff is wearing a new hat, Professor at Georgetown Law.
(On camera): Why did you want to start teaching when you got here to Washington?
EMHOFF: I wanted to keep a toe in the legal profession. And when this opportunity came up, it was great, because I always thought and at some point, I'd love to teach law school at least part time. And so yeah, it's a great way to stay engaged in the legal field. It's a great way to be around a bunch of smart young law students on their way to being lawyers. And as a lawyer for so long, I'd always thought, wow, I just got them, right before they got to the firm. I could just tell them a few things. So, when they got to the firm --
BASH: And now you get to do that.
EMHOFF: And it's like, go from lawsuit into lawyer. That's the whole theme of my class. And it's just been great.
EMHOFF: Where's my jersey?
BASH: He also gets some fun assignments, like representing his wife here at the annual women's congressional softball game where I happen to be one of the announcers.
It all comes down to this game.
You're walking around, people are asking for selfies. What's the thing that people say to you the most when you're out and about?
EMHOFF: Thank you. Thank the President. Like Kamala, know, I say hi. Some say we love Ella, but it's always gratitude. And it's good because it's good intel on what we're doing. Like it's breaking through and it's nice but I'm also using as a way to get feedback.
BASH: And you get honest feedback?
EMHOFF: Yeah, yeah. I think people feel they can talk to me, maybe more than they could some of the others because I haven't been in politics.
BASH: Speaking of politics, he's very careful not to get ahead of, well, anything.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And we've got a special guest, the First Gentleman of the United States. EMHOFF: Second, second, second. Second Gentleman, excuse me.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Second, I know.
BASH: 12 Second ladies went on to become First Lady, would you want to be the first First Gentleman?
EMHOFF: Right now, I'm just focused on being the first Second Gentleman. And that's all I'm focused on.
BASH: Focused on supporting his wife, the Vice President, focused on representing his country and focused on his role, which has already earned him a place in history.