In an exclusive interview on Wednesday, Second Gentleman Doug Emhoff expressed his burden in combating the nationwide growth of antisemitism.
Some days I don’t want to do it, because it’s too hard’, he told Wolf Blitzer of HEADLINESFOREVER during an interview from his office in the Eisenhower Executive Office Building. “I’m still very upset about it. However, the vice president’s wife has been tremendously encouraging, and she has pushed me to keep using this platform to reject the bigotry and animosity that surrounds the current events.
“As the first Jewish person in this role, I know I have an obligation to our Jewish community,” he added. “I take that very seriously; there are high standards and a lot of responsibility. Whatever I may be going through emotionally, I will not let it dampen my resolve to use this platform to speak out against antisemitism and bigotry and to rally our alliances once more to combat this issue together.
After Hamas attacked Israel on October 7, the second gentleman stepped up his campaign against antisemitism. An interview with Emhoff was conducted just before January 27, International Holocaust Remembrance Day. In the conversation, Emhoff expressed his unwavering anger over the events surrounding the Hamas attack, which he described as the most horrific act of violence perpetrated against Jews since the Holocaust. Neither the president nor the vice president has ever married a Jew before Emhoff.
While pledging that the Biden administration is doing “everything we can” to combat extremism, Emhoff noted that antisemitism and hate speech have been widely disseminated.
“So-called leaders in this country have been fueling hate and anger,” Emhoff remarked. quiet is not an appropriate response; we have witnessed leaders who are aware of the consequences of their quiet. There has to be some noise right now. In order to fight this hatred, we must all unite.
On October 7, about 240 individuals were kidnapped. While visiting the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, last week, Emhoff visited with relatives and some of the captives who were released. According to Emhoff, the suffering endured by the captives “cannot be minimised.”
“It will always be remembered,” he declared. “The evidence is absolutely shocking, and that fact will stay with us forever.”
His point was that hatred had its origins long before October 7. He cited the 2017 Unite the Right event in Charlottesville, Virginia, where tiki-torch-wielding White supremacists marched, chanting “Jews will not replace us,” and the 2018 Pittsburgh synagogue massacre, which claimed the lives of eleven people.
Even before October 7, Emhoff had made combating antisemitism and hate a major priority. Rather than having to “start from scratch after October 7,” the Biden administration was able to implement a nationwide strategy to fight antisemitism, according to Emhoff, who spoke after the May introduction of the plan.
The strategy encompassed over a hundred activities by the Executive Branch, such as increasing money for security, performing threat assessments, and strengthening research into antisemitism.
We have done a lot to ensure people’s safety, including providing funding for security measures, educating the public, and combating cyber threats, but right now my attention is on forming coalitions. He lamented the fact that many of their usual coalitions were becoming strained. “To unite everyone and make them see how this hatred is interconnected, we must restore these coalitions, and I am working tirelessly, speaking publicly and behind the scenes, to make that happen.”