Media Fawned over Emhoff at Hanukkah Until He Revealed He Knew Nothing

Doug Emhoff and Kamala Harris light Hanukkah candles (Twitter)

Second Gentleman Doug Emhoff has been the subject of many glowing profiles about his Jewish faith, especially around the Hanukkah holiday, prior to a bizarre social media post on Monday, in which he revealed a profound ignorance about the festival.

Emhoff has never claimed to be observant or knowledgeable about Judaism, though he has taken a leadership role in Jewish affairs since being elevated to the national stage.

The media have run glowing profiles about his faith, such as this one in Politico in 2021 (original emphasis):

This week, second gentlemen DOUG EMHOFF did something routine for Jews across the globe. He celebrated Hanukkah, the Jewish holiday commemorating the rededication of the Temple in Jerusalem. But, unlike any other Jew on earth, Emhoff lit his menorah in the Vice President’s residence. In the process, he became the first member or spouse in the executive branch to take in the festival of lights as a matter of religion and not ceremony.

There was no grand pronouncement for this moment. Instead, the marking of it came via a photo posted to Twitter: Emhoff and his wife, Vice President KAMALA HARRIS, holding the Shamash, the light of the candle reflecting on the window in front of them as they placed it gently back in its holder.

What’s striking about the photo is the solemnity on Emhoff’s face. There is a shadow cast upon it. While Harris smiles ever so slightly, his mouth is pinched. His eyes seem somber as he looks down on the menorah, laying there on a barren, wooden table. It’s as if a sense of gravity has spread across the room alongside the candle light. A few nights later, as Emhoff spoke on a congressional Hanukkah celebration Zoom call, he revealed it had.

On Monday, as Breitbart News reported, Emhoff made a hash of the Hanukkah story in a social media post, which was later deleted: “Emhoff, the first Jewish person in his position, who is helping to lead the White House antisemitism ‘strategy,’ posted a now-deleted explanation that combined elements of several different stories, none of which connected to the other — or made any sense.”

The media had a virtual embargo on positive coverage of the spouses of President Donald Trump and Vice President Mike Pence.

Joel B. Pollak is Senior Editor-at-Large at Breitbart News and the host of Breitbart News Sunday on Sirius XM Patriot on Sunday evenings from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m. ET (4 p.m. to 7 p.m. PT). He is the author of the new biography, Rhoda: ‘Comrade Kadalie, You Are Out of Order’. He is also the author of the recent e-book, Neither Free nor Fair: The 2020 U.S. Presidential Election. He is a winner of the 2018 Robert Novak Journalism Alumni Fellowship. Follow him on Twitter at @joelpollak.


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