Doug Emhoff departed Thursday for an historic trip to Poland and Germany aimed at combating the rising tide of antisemitism around the world as he steps up his own role within President Joe Biden’s administration.
Emhoff’s six day trip will include a stop at the Auschwitz-Birkenau death camp on International Holocaust Remembrance Day, a visit to Schindler’s Enamel Factory Museum, and a meeting with European envoys in Berlin.
It comes as Emhoff raises his voice to speak out against antisemitism and takes on more high-profile solo engagement of his time in the administration. Emhoff, the husband of Vice President Kamala Harris, is the first Jewish spouse of a president or vice president.
‘He’s a very strong asset to the administration and he’s leaning harder into engagement,’ a White House official told DailyMail.com of the second gentleman.
Doug Emhoff left Thursday for a six-day trip to Poland and Germany to speak against the rising tide of antisemitism
His advocacy increased after high-profile incidents of antisemitism in the United States, including one where former President Donald Trump dined with white nationalist Nick Fuentes and Kanye West, the rapper who is now know as Ye, at Mar-a-Lago.
The trip will also have personal connotations for Emhoff, whose great grandparents fled persecution from what is now Poland at the beginning of the 19th century.
The second gentleman spoke about what the issue means to him when hosted a roundtable with Jewish leaders at the White House last month, calling it an ‘epidemic of hate.’
‘I understand the weight of this responsibility – I do,’ he said. ‘And as second gentleman, let me reiterate, I will not remain silent. I´m proud to be Jewish, and I´m proud to live openly as a Jew. I am not afraid. We cannot live in fear. We refuse to be afraid.’
On his trip, Emhoff will be joined by Ambassador Deborah Lipstadt, the U.S. special envoy to monitor and combat antisemitism.
At Auschwitz-Birkenauh, he will participate in a wreath-laying ceremony to mark International Holocaust Remembrance Day.
And he’ll visit other sites important to the Jewish community, including Schindler’s Enamel Factory Museum – Oskar Schindler’s story was popularized by the 1993 film ‘Schindler’s List’ – and Krakow’s Historic Jewish Quarter.
In Berlin, Emhoff will visit the Museum of Jewish Life, the Memorial to the Victims of the Nazi ‘Euthanasia’ Murder, and the Holocaust Museum.
Administration officials said Emhoff would spend a big part of his trip pushing back against Holocaust deniers.
‘There’ll be many events focusing on honoring the victims of the Holocaust, and having a second gentleman educating the public on the true nature of the Holocaust. You will see the second gentleman push back against Holocaust denial, distortion and disinformation,’ a senior administration official said on a briefing call with reporters.
Doug Emhoff, right with his wife Vice President Kamala Harris and President Joe Biden, is the first Jewish spouse of a president or vice president
Second Gentleman Doug Emhoff (right), next to Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (center) and Dr. Rabbi Aaron Glatt (left), lights the Liberty Bell menorah, during the menorah lighting ceremony in celebration of Hanukkah at the White House in December 2021
Emhoff also will meet with European officials to emphasize the administration’s committment to countering global antisemitism. He will stress Biden and Harris are focused on the issue both globally and domestically.
And he’ll meet with Christian and Muslim groups to discuss the increase of hatred against religious groups.
‘Interfaith dialogue has been an area of focus for a second gentleman, and the basic idea here, which he’ll be speaking about throughout the trip, is that we know that Semitism is not only a threat to Jews, it is often often accompany or a precursor to other forms of hatred and intolerance, including against other ethnic or religious minority groups and immigrants,’ the senior administration official said.
Finally, he’ll meet with Ukrainian refugees in both Poland and Germany.
Emhoff, who practiced law in California but stepped down after Harris became vice president, took on a more visible role on the issue after a series of incidents shook up the American Jewish community.
Trump hosted Fuentes, a Holocaust denier, and Ye, who praised Adolf Hitler, at Mar-a-Lago.
Baskeball star star Kyrie Irving also promoted an antisemitic film on social media. And Twitter has been criticized for the increasing levels of antisemitic and other hate speech on its platform after chief executive Elon Musk restored people whose accounts had been suspended.
‘As long as I have this microphone, I’m going to speak out against hate, bigotry, lies,’ Emhoff said last month.
‘I’m going speak out against those who praise fascist murderers and idealize extremists. I’m going to speak out against Holocaust deniers and then call those out who won’t do it.’
Read more at DailyMail.co.uk