A representative for Melania Trump responded to the librarian who described Melania’s books gift as containing “racist propaganda,” among other comments.
Stephanie Grisham, director of communications for the first lady, responded to the librarian’s displeasure with the gift of 10 Dr. Seuss books sent to her school.
“To turn the gesture of sending young students some books into something divisive is unfortunate, but the first lady remains committed to her efforts on behalf of children everywhere,” said Grisham in a statement, via USA Today.
Liz Phipps Soeiro is a librarian at Cambridgeport Elementary School in Cambridge, Massachusetts. Her school was one of the gift recipients for Sept. 6’s National Read a Book Day. One exceptional school in each state received the gift package from the first lady, accompanied by an inspirational letter.
Soeiro responded by sending a letter back to the first lady rejecting the books, and then the letter was published on The Horn Book, a website that describes itself as a blog for “Publications about books for children and young adults.”
“My students were interested in reading your enclosed letter and impressed with the beautiful bookplates with your name and the indelible White House stamp, however, we will not be keeping the titles for our collection. I’d like to respectfully offer my explanation,” wrote Soeiro.
“My school and my library are indeed award-winning. I work in a district that has plenty of resources, which contributes directly to ‘excellence,’” wrote Soeiro as her reasoning for not wanting the books.
“My students have access to a school library with over nine thousand volumes and a librarian with a graduate degree in library science,” she continued.
She then goes on a rant about the policies of Education Secretary Betsy DeVos, white supremacy, and said illustrations in Dr. Seuss books are based on “racist propaganda.”
“So, my school doesn’t have a NEED for these books,” is how Soeiro sums up her feelings.
Commenters on the post suggest she wouldn’t be reacting that way if the gift was received from previous first lady Michelle Obama, who was known for reading Dr. Seuss books to children. She wasn’t the only first lady who took a liking to his work.
Here's D.C. librarian who rejected Melania's Dr. Seuss book donation "steeped in racist propaganda" as Cat in Hat. pic.twitter.com/pek3pT5q2W
— Clay Travis (@ClayTravis) September 29, 2017
Even Soeiro herself celebrated Dr. Seuss. Photos of her in full Dr. Seuss celebratory gear, and hugging a Dr. Seuss book, were uncovered, Twitchy reported. A hashtag exposing Soeiro called #RacistSeuss is making the rounds on Twitter.
A spokeswoman for Cambridge Public Schools told The Boston Globe that the district received emails and phone calls from people offended by Soeiro’s stance.
The Cambridge school system released a statement via CBS Boston.
“In this instance, the employee was not authorized to accept or reject donated books on behalf of the school or school district. We have counseled the employee on all relevant policies, including the policy against public resources being used for political purposes.”