Second gentleman Doug Emhoff condemned a recent uptick in hateful rhetoric against Jewish people and warned of an “epidemic of hate facing our country” during a roundtable focused on combating antisemitism.
“I will not remain silent. I am proud to be Jewish. I’m proud to live openly as a Jew. I am not afraid. I refuse to be afraid,” Emhoff declared during the event with Jewish leaders at the White House on Wednesday.
Emhoff, the husband of Vice President Harris, vowed to continue speaking “out against hate, bigotry and lies” in his position representing the Biden administration.
He led the roundtable at the White House with leaders from the United Synagogue of Conservative Judaism, American Jewish Committee and the National Council of Jewish Women, among other groups.
“There is an epidemic of hate facing our country,” the second gentleman said. “Let me be clear: Words matter. People are no longer saying the quiet parts out loud. They are screaming them.”
“We cannot normalize this. We all have an obligation to condemn these vile acts. We must not stay silent. There is no ‘either or.’ There are no two sides. Everyone must be against this,” he added.
Emhoff said he became a lawyer in part so he can stand up for others. He also touted the increased funding that President Biden and Harris have put toward fighting antisemitism during their administration.
Concerns over rising antisemitism were raised recently after former President Trump hosted the rapper Ye and Nick Fuentes, an avowed white nationalist and Holocaust denier, for dinner at his Florida home last month.
Ye, formerly known as Kanye West, also went on the right-wing radio show of Alex Jones and espoused antisemitic rhetoric attacking Jewish people and expressing appreciation for Adolf Hitler and the Nazis.
Others at the roundtable Wednesday included the Anti-Defamation League, Integrity First for America, Agudath and the Conference of Presidents of Major Jewish Organizations.
Ambassador Deborah Lipstadt, the administration’s special envoy to monitor and combat antisemitism, and Susan Rice, the White House domestic policy adviser, joined from the White House. Keisha Lance Bottoms, a senior adviser to the president for public engagement, also attended.