First lady Melania Trump responded to a Massachusetts librarian who rejected her gift of Dr. Seuss books while calling them “cliché” and “steeped in racist propaganda, caricatures, and harmful stereotypes” in an open letter.
“Mrs. Trump intends to use her platform as First Lady to help as many children as she can. She has demonstrated this in both actions and words since her husband took office, and sending books to schools across the country is but one example,” said Stephanie Grisham, Mrs. Trump’s communications director, in a statement. Grisham added that the divisive nature of the letter was “unfortunate” and that Trump “remains committed to her efforts on behalf of children everywhere.”
Liz Phipps Soeiro, a librarian at Cambridgeport Elementary School, faced backlash after writing an open letter rejecting Trump’s donation of Dr. Seuss books to her school. While parents supported her statements, the Cambridge School district distanced itself from the letter.
“The opinions expressed in the Horn Book editorial were those of the writer and not a statement on behalf of Cambridge Public Schools,” officials explained in a statement. The school added that the response “was not a formal acceptance or rejection of donated books, but a statement of opinion on the meaning of the donation” and reportedly “counseled” Soeiro on “all relevant policies, including donations policies and the policy against public resources being used for political purposes.”
Springfield Mayor Domenic Sarno, who presides over Seuss’ hometown, heavily criticized Soeriro’s characterization of Seuss.