There’s a reason why Vice President Kamala Harris’ husband goes by “Doug” Emhoff or to some, “Dougie.” He’s apparently a laid-back, casual, t-shirt-wearing guy who likes to share silly dad-level jokes and usually sports a smile.
However, according to the New York Post, that image didn’t sit well with certain people on then-candidate Joe Biden’s transition team. In order to appear more formal and serious, “Doug” was changed to “Douglas” in press releases and other materials, in what many believe was an effort to rebrand the newly-minted Second Gentleman into something he’s not.
The 56-year-old didn’t have his name involuntarily changed until after Biden tapped Harris to be his vice president. Through the entirety of Harris’ presidential campaign, he went by the casual “Doug,” by which most people knew him.
Not only does Emhoff go by “Doug” on his official Twitter account, a profile on the website of the law firm at which he works also lists him by the same name.
It was roughly a week prior to Biden’s inauguration that members of the transition White House began using “Douglas” instead, though the exact reasons are still unclear. Since that time, they continue to use “Douglas” instead of the shortened version.
Interestingly, some former staffers who worked for Harris were taken aback by the forced, formal lengthening of Emhoff’s first name, reportedly saying that the longer version simply doesn’t fit his style or personality.
One of Emhoff’s spokespeople attempted to put the controversy to rest, telling Politico that it’s “Safe to say like most people, his full and abbreviated names have always been used interchangeably.”
Last month, headlines were quickly generated after it was reported that the White House began the switch to referring to the current administration as the “Biden-Harris administration,” instead of the tradition of simply using the last name of the president, according to Fox News.
“I would take from it that Vice President Harris is an important partner, she’s the first in the room and the last in the room on most occasions if she’s in town,” Psaki said while adding that the change was a “reflection of the important role she will play moving forward,” White House press secretary Jen Psaki said in response to the change.