Georgia gubernatorial candidate Stacey Abrams demanded that others around her mask up for pictures in which she removed her own face covering.
Abrams and her campaign have struggled to respond to criticism after Abrams promoted a picture of herself visiting a Georgia elementary school in which she sat unmasked surrounded by numerous children all wearing face coverings. She later deleted her tweet after the image sparked backlash online.
These tweets — with a photo showing Stacey Abrams maskless surrounded by masked children & showing Abrams promoting it from her own account — have now both been removed. (Abrams deleted her own tweet and it appears that the original account has been deactivated or something). pic.twitter.com/qzzAPolsE2
— Jerry Dunleavy (@JerryDunleavy) February 6, 2022
Abrams was blasted over her apparent lack of concern for the masked children in the photograph while she sat free of the restrictive covering. In a statement following the image’s appearance on social media, Abrams’ campaign accused Republicans of launching a “false political attack” while failing to offer an explanation for the photograph.
The campaign later said that Abrams posed for pictures during her visit to Glennwood Elementary School only on the condition that everyone else mask up, according to The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. Abrams also removed her mask to speak to the students so they could hear her. The Journal-Constitution reported:
Her campaign said she wore a mask to the event and only removed it so she could be heard by students watching remotely and for a handful of photos on the condition that everyone around her was wearing face-coverings.
Video footage of the event reviewed by The Atlanta Journal-Constitution shows Abrams arrived at the podium wearing a mask, taking it off just before she began to speak.
Abrams took heat over the photo from both sides of the political aisle. Georgia Governor Brian Kemp (R) said “Stacey Abrams wants state government mask mandates for Georgians and their children. But it looks like they wouldn’t apply when she’s attending a photo op.”
On the liberal-dominated daytime talk show The View, host Joy Behar said Abrams “messed up” taking the photo. “She messed up taking a picture with these kids without a mask, giving aid and comfort to the other side. That’s what she did,” Behar said. “I’m surprised at her.”
Abrams campaign said that the controversy was manufactured by Republicans and “beneath anyone who claims he wants to lead Georgia.” The statement said:
It is shameful that our opponents are using a Black History Month reading event for Georgia children as the impetus for a false political attack, and it is pitiful and predictable that our opponents continued to look for opportunities to distract from their failed records when it comes to protecting public health during the pandemic. One of Stacey’s opponents downplayed the virus while trading stock to profit off the pandemic after his private coronavirus briefings as a senator. Another of her opponents attacked mayors seeking to protect their citizens and has failed to expand access to Medicaid even as rural hospitals close. This pathetic, transparent and silly attack is beneath anyone who claims he wants to lead Georgia.
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