White House 2020 spouses eye new title ‘First Gentleman’

1 April, 2019 12:00 AM printer

WASHINGTON: From Martha Washington to Melania Trump, the role of US first lady is as old as the republic itself, reports AFP.

But if one of half a dozen Democrat hopefuls get their way in 2020, the nation could soon have a first gentleman—potentially even the husband of America’s first gay president—move into the White House.

The presidential spouse has always been a woman, and while her duties have never been officially codified, she is expected to function as the mansion’s hostess, overseeing its social and ceremonial events.

But the longstanding tradition and expectations of that ornamental and highly visible role, may soon be upended.

Four years ago it was Bill Clinton who was widely expected to become first gentleman once Hillary Clinton did away with Republican Donald Trump, but history intervened. Now, women senators Kamala Harris, Elizabeth Warren, Kirsten Gillibrand and Amy Klobuchar, along with congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard, are competing to unseat Trump and become the nation’s first female commander in chief.

Their husbands have largely shunned the spotlight, all too aware of the unwritten campaign rule: “Don’t overshadow your spouse.”

Some have taken the stage with their candidate better halves more than others, and social media has been the venue for a few to shine.