Skip to content
Did Kamala Harris Take the Oath With Her Hand on a Purse?
Go to my account

Did Kamala Harris Take the Oath With Her Hand on a Purse?

No. The new vice president was sworn in using two Bibles, one on top of the other.

After Vice President Kamala Harris took the oath of office on January 20, a viral social media post claiming that Harris deliberately avoided placing her hand on a Bible, has been circulating. The widely shared Facebook post claims Harris “did NOT place her hand on the Bible as you can clearly see when she was inaugurated while being sworn in, a purse/wallet is on top of that Bible.”

This is a false claim. In reality, Harris was sworn in with two Bibles, with her hand placed over both, and she did not have her hand on a purse or wallet. 

As reported by USA Today, Harris, who was sworn in by Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor, used a Bible that belonged to Supreme Court Justice Thurgood Marshall as well as one from Regina Shelton, a friend of Harris’. Marshall was the first black justice in the Supreme Court and Shelton is someone Harris considers a “second mother.”

In the viral post, something that looks like a zipper is visible on the second Bible, which may have been the source of the rumor that Harris placed her hand on a “purse/wallet.” From a different angle, though, it’s obvious that the item on top is a leather-bound Bible.

If you have a claim you would like to see us fact check, please send us an email at If you would like to suggest a correction to this piece or any other Dispatch article, please email

Khaya Himmelman is a fact checker for The Dispatch. She is a graduate of Columbia Journalism School and Barnard College.