For hundreds of years, spouses of U.S. presidents and vice presidents have been known as “First Ladies” and “Second Ladies.” That was, of course, when the country’s first and second in command were always males (who were married to females).
But new ground broke today as Kamala Harris stepped into the role of vice president, becoming the first woman to hold the office and thereby raising the question of what to do about the official nickname for her husband Doug Emhoff.
It was a problem much of the country was hoping to have four years ago, when presidential nominee Hillary Clinton seemed poised to become the first woman to hold the highest office in the land. But while that didn’t work out, it did give decision-makers and pundits plenty of time to coin the 21st-century designations “First Gentleman” and “Second Gentleman.”
Social media platform Twitter was among the first to roll out the new terms today as it transitioned the institutional White House accounts from the Trump administration to the Biden administration, including @WhiteHouse, @POTUS, @VP, @FLOTUS, and @PressSec.
The handle for the vice president’s spouse, typically @SecondLady, was replaced by the new @SecondGentleman. It debuted with significant momentum, gaining more than 800,000 followers within a few hours.
At the time of writing, the Second Gentleman has yet to post to his inaugural account.