April 28, 2021

On April 23, the New York Post reported that migrant children routed from the U.S.-Mexico border to a shelter in Long Beach, Calif., will be given a copy of Vice President Kamala Harris’ 2019 children’s book called “Superheroes are Everywhere.”

The story, which ran on the Post’s cover the next day, doesn’t cite a source; it just shows a Reuters photo of a cot that has a copy of the book on it. And as of April 27, the story link no longer worked and redirected readers to the Post’s homepage. But claims about the book are spreading online.

“So the Biden administration is buying Kamala Harris’ book with our taxpayer money,” read one Facebook post that shared the Post cover. “Seems to be a conflict of interest. Who’s okay with Vice President Harris making money off this situation?”

This post was flagged as part of Facebook’s efforts to combat false news and misinformation on its News Feed. (Read more about our partnership with Facebook.)

We reached out to the White House and the city of Long Beach, which is temporarily hosting migrant children who are staying at an U.S. Department of Health and Human Services shelter there.

Kevin Lee, a spokesperson for the city, told PolitiFact that a copy of Harris’ book was donated as part of a citywide book and toy drive organized by the city of Long Beach and its convention and visitors bureau to support the children.

“The single book you reference is one of hundreds of various books that have already been donated,” Lee said, adding that it wasn’t purchased by Long Beach or the federal government.

On April 25, the convention and visitors bureau tweeted that “the Long Beach community is rallying around the book and toy drive for migrant youth” and thanked “the many donors who have dropped off new toys and books.”

A website for the toy and book drive says that the city is accepting English and Spanish language books suitable for infants to young adults.

Sabrina Singh, a White House spokesperson for Harris, told us that “the office of the vice president was not aware that her children’s book was donated.”

We’ve found nothing credible to suggest otherwise, and no evidence that there is a campaign to give every child a copy of the vice president’s book on the taxpayer’s dime.

As the Washington Post reported in its fact-check of Sen. Tom Cotton and Republican National Committee Chair Ronna McDaniel — both of whom echoed claims that Harris was profiting off a surge of immigrants at taxpayer expense — “this is a good example of how misinformation spreads on right-wing media and gets amplified by Republican leaders.”

We rate this claim False.

This article was originally published by PolitiFact, which is part of the Poynter Institute. It is republished here with permission. See the sources for these fact checks here and more of their fact checks here.

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Ciara O'Rourke is a contributing writer for PolitiFact. Previously, Ciara covered local government and public safety for the Austin American-Statesman and fact-checked elected officials and…
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