Dec 7, 2022 - Politics & Policy

Emhoff warns of "epidemic of hate" amid rising antisemitism

Second gentleman Douglas Emhoff (C), husband of Vice President Kamala Harris, delivers remarks during a roundtable about the rise of antisemitism.

Second gentleman Douglas Emhoff delivers remarks during a roundtable about the rise of antisemitism at the Eisenhower Executive Office Building on Dec. 7. Photo: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

Second gentleman Doug Emhoff warned Wednesday of an "epidemic of hate" facing the U.S. during a roundtable he convened at the White House.

Driving the news: "There's an epidemic of hate facing our country. We're seeing a rapid rise in antisemitic rhetoric and acts," Emhoff said during the roundtable, which included Jewish leaders and White House officials.

  • "Let me be clear: Words matter," Emhoff, who is Jewish, said.
  • "People are no longer saying the quiet parts out loud. They are literally screaming them."
  • "What's happening now, it's visceral, it's real and that's why this is so personal to me," Emhoff, the first Jewish spouse of a president or vice president, added.

The big picture: The event comes in the wake of former President Trump, who last month announced his official 2024 presidential campaign, hosting white nationalist Nick Fuentes at his Mar-a-Lago residence.

What he's saying: "Antisemitism is dangerous," Emhoff emphasized.

  • "We cannot normalize this. We all have an obligation to condemn these vile acts ... all of us cannot stay silent," he said.
  • "We know when people refuse to condemn this vile speech and these vile acts ... it only serves to ignite violence — violence among extremists," Emhoff said.
  • "I will not remain silent and I'm proud to be Jewish, I'm proud to live openly as a Jew and I'm not afraid."
  • "We cannot live in fear, we refuse to be afraid," he said.

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