A number of Republican lawmakers have refused to remove their tweets promoting a discredited news story about Vice President Kamala Harris, even after the reporter who wrote the piece said it was made up.
The controversy centers on an article the New York Post published on its front page Saturday, claiming that migrant children at a facility in Long Beach, California, were receiving “welcome kits” containing copies of Harris’ 2019 book “Superheroes Are Everywhere.”
The story was quickly picked up by the right-wing echo chamber, which eagerly claimed that Harris was profiting off of unaccompanied minors at the southern border.
“The Biden administration’s weakness caused a surge of illegal immigration,” tweeted Sen. Tom Cotton (R-Ark.). “Now they’re forcing taxpayers to buy Kamala Harris’s book to give to those illegal immigrants?”
The story was a fabrication, as Laura Italiano, the New York Post reporter who wrote the story, admitted in a statement revealing that she had resigned from the paper because of it.
“An announcement: Today I handed in my resignation to my editors at the New York Post,” she tweeted on Tuesday. “The Kamala Harris story ― an incorrect story I was ordered to write and which I failed to push back hard enough against ― was my breaking point.”
The story now has an editor’s note reading, “The original version of this article said migrant kids were getting Harris’ book in a welcome kit, but has been updated to note that only one known copy of the book was given to a child.”
It’s not even clear that a single copy of the book was “given to a child.” As The Washington Post noted, one copy of Harris’ book “was photographed by Reuters on a vacant bed at a shelter in Long Beach last week. It was one of many items, including toys and clothing, donated by residents in a citywide drive, Long Beach officials said. No government funds were used to purchase the items, according to a city spokeswoman.”
Republicans have been hammering the Biden administration on immigration and the situation at the border, seeing it as a potential political vulnerability. Harris has been a target ever since Biden put her in charge of addressing the long-term issues in El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras that are leading to the migration to the United States.
Despite the admission that the original story was false, Republican lawmakers ― as well as the chairwoman of the Republican National Committee ― have largely kept up their tweets promoting the fake controversy.
But after HuffPost inquired about the tweets, two GOP House members ― Reps. Debbie Lesko (Ariz.) and Ken Buck (Colo.) did delete the tweets.
None of the lawmakers returned a request for comment.
Below are the tweets that are still up.
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