They say behind every successful man, there is a woman. In the case of US Vice President-elect Kamala Harris, it seems like behind every successful woman is a man who hugs her tight and accompanies her to every campaign event.
His name is Douglas Emhoff and was present in all the major events in Kamala's campaign journey.
When the results were announced, he had four words to say: "So proud of you…” he wrote on Twitter, followed by heart emojis and the flag of America. Beneath those words were photos of the couple locked in a tight embrace.
"We are all so proud of Kamala! History has been made! The world is celebrating!” one of the followers responded, reinforcing the message that many people had been posting online since the election results were announced.
Just as Kamala made history, so did Emhoff. He becomes the first second gentleman in the White House, breaking gender roles that have long defined the presidency not just in the US, but all over the world.
As celebrations spilt to the streets, people were still struggling with what to call Emhoff – second gentleman, second man or simply the VP's husband. So much confusion, but what stood out was the joy and hope of what the couple represented.
Before Kamala got into politics, Emhoff lived a relatively private life. He was a lawyer who put his 30-year career on hold to support his wife’s ambition.
“Men should learn that sometimes what you should do when your wife shares a dream that seems wild, it does not hurt to stand beside her and give support,” wrote Beryl Odongo on a social media post discussing how society often belittles men who support their partners to aggressively pursue careers in sectors perceived to be male-dominated.
Emhoff never spoke much during campaigns. More often, he took a position at the backstage, wearing T-shirts bearing Kamala’s name and waving the US flag. He was the man who retweeted what Biden and Kamala were writing about their journey. When she rose to dance and light up the crowd during campaigns, he nodded and clapped in support but rarely went to the front.
The few times he was seen to be actively involved include an event in San Francisco. Kamala was addressing a crowd when a protester shot on stage and grabbed her microphone. Almost immediately, a visibly livid Emhoff sprung on the stage, roughed up the protester and escorted him away. The move was described by many as romantic.
"Call me shallow, but watching him step up to protect his woman made me know for sure that I am voting for Kamala. She married a man who respects and protects women. That is the wisdom we are looking for,” wrote Shirley McDonell when the video went viral.
A photo shared in December last year of Kamala sitting on his lap, cuddling, while Emhoff writes a caption that reads 'I've got you. Always' illustrated the couple's open affection with each other.
Emhoff and his children were always seen as Kamala's biggest supporters, and their social media pages are full of shared posts that endorsed Kamala’s message.
According to previous interviews, he met Kamala in 2013 on a blind date set up by one of her friends. They immediately hit it off and were married a year later in a small ceremony.
Kamala has always acknowledged her family's role in her success. In her first address after declaring she would be Biden's running mate, she said: "My family means everything to me. And I have had a lot of titles over my career, and certainly, 'Vice President' will be great, but 'Momala' will always be the one that means the most."
When asked whether he enjoys politics and why he chose to take leave to support her, Emhoff responded, "I am not overly political. I am overly her husband."