FACT CHECK: Did Kamala Harris Place Her Hand On A Purse While Taking Her Oath Of Office?

Trevor Schakohl | Fact Check Reporter

An image shared on Facebook claims Vice President Kamala Harris was sworn into office with her hand placed on a purse on top of a Bible.

Verdict: False

Photos show Harris was sworn in as vice president using two Bibles stacked on top of each other.

Fact Check:

Harris was sworn in as vice president by Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor on Jan. 20, C-SPAN footage of the inauguration ceremony shows. President Joe Biden was sworn in shortly thereafter by Chief Justice John Roberts, as seen in CNBC’s YouTube livestream.

Since the inauguration, social media users have shared a photo of Harris taking her oath of office with her hand resting on two stacked objects. Text above the photo attempts to suggest she placed her hand on a black clutch bag, saying, “Paying attention? Satanist dont (sic) touch the Holy Bible, thats why she put her clutch bag on top of the bible. These people are sick. Right in our faces.”

In reality, Harris used two Bibles for her oath of office. Photos taken from different angles for Reuters, AFP and The Associated Press show the black object is indeed a Bible being held by her husband, Doug Emhoff. It is stacked on top of another bible, the photos also indicate. (RELATED: Image Claims Barnes & Noble Will Stop Selling Bibles)

One of the Bibles that Harris used for her inauguration belonged to the late Thurgood Marshall, the first black Supreme Court justice, NPR reported. The other Bible was previously owned by Regina Shelton, a woman whom Harris has said helped raise her and her sister, Newsweek reported. Harris used Shelton’s Bible to be sworn in as a senator and as California’s attorney general, according to ABC News.

The Bible on the top in the inauguration photos either has a zipper or was being kept inside a zippered case. That appears to have led to the confusion on social media about what Harris placed her hand on while taking her oath of office Wednesday.

The Associated Press reported in August that Harris attended services at the Third Baptist Church of San Francisco. Check Your Fact previously debunked a false rumor that the vice president referred to American churches as “propaganda centers.”

Trevor Schakohl

Fact Check Reporter
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