Georgia Democrat Stacey Abrams appeared maskless on Friday in front of dozens of masked elementary school children in a photo that she has since deleted after it sparked widespread outrage.
In the photo, Abrams appears smiling at an elementary school “African-American Read-In” event for Black History Month at Glennwood Elementary School in Decatur, a city within Atlanta Metro’s deeply Democrat Dekalb County.
City Schools of Decatur, which Glennwood Elementary is a part of, specifies on its website that all students and employees inside Decatur school buildings must wear masks. A pamphlet on the website also specifies that cloth masks are among the “approved mask types.”
The photo of Abrams was first shared Friday by Glennwood principal Holly Brookins in a Twitter post, and then retweeted by Abrams, who was subsequently met with a massive wave of criticism for being the only individual in the photo not wearing a mask.
— Libs of Tik Tok (@libsoftiktok) February 6, 2022
Brookins later deleted the Twitter post, as did Abrams, and Brookins also appears to have since deactivated or deleted her entire Twitter account.
Abrams, an outspoken voting rights activist, is running for governor of Georgia for a second time after losing to Gov. Brian Kemp (R) by a razor-thin margin in 2018. Abrams has repeatedly accused Georgia of “inaction” over its coronavirus response, though it is unclear what her exact position on masks is.
Breitbart News reached out to the Abrams campaign to ask about her stance on government and school officials imposing mask mandates on adults and children, as well as to inquire about her reason for deleting the now-viral photo, but the campaign did not respond.
Kemp, for his part, has deferred the decision to impose school mask mandates to local governments, though the governor signed an executive order in 2021 that barred local governments from imposing mask mandates, vaccine mandates, and capacity restrictions on private businesses.
In response to Abrams’ photo, Kemp accused the Georgia Democrat of hypocrisy and said the photo proves her pursuit for the governorship is “a quest for more power.”
“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,” Kemp spokesman Tate Mitchell said in a statement provided to Breitbart News. “This kind of hypocrisy is exactly why Georgians see her campaign for governor for what it truly is: a quest for more power. Governor Kemp will continue fighting to put students and parents first.”
Former Sen. David Perdue (R-GA) blasted Abrams for the photo but also lashed out at Kemp, whom he is seeking to unseat in the Republican gubernatorial primary race. Perdue claimed the governor has “failed students and parents by allowing” school mask mandates.
“Many Georgia kids are facing this mask nonsense every day,” Perdue said in a statement. “Kemp has failed students and parents by allowing liberal school districts to force mask mandates upon them. It’s a disgrace and it needs to end. It’s time to empower parents and reign in these power-hungry career politicians.”
Later on Sunday afternoon, Abrams’ campaign manager Lauren Groh-Wargo commented on the photo fury, claiming Kemp and Perdue were “using a Black History Month reading event for Georgia children as the impetus for a false political attack.”
Our opponents took a brief break from licking Trump's boots this weekend to issue baseless attacks, and it's more of their typical dishonest, wannabe tough guy fodder to distract from their failures. See the @staceyabrams campaign response here 👇 pic.twitter.com/zOoTvkKKQg
— Lauren Groh-Wargo (@gwlauren) February 6, 2022
Other reactions to Abrams’ photo:
The number of left wing politicians who post photos posing without masks while all the kids around them are wearing masks is stunning. Here is Stacey Abrams doing it. This is child abuse. pic.twitter.com/actF0YFGrz
— Clay Travis (@ClayTravis) February 6, 2022
— Dinesh D'Souza (@DineshDSouza) February 6, 2022
Self-righteous politicians show off their smile as they force your children to be muzzled all day, set back years in their development, and carry the burden of a pandemic that was never at high risk to them.
Stacey Abrams is an enemy to Georgia's families. pic.twitter.com/57U1daKJol
— American Principles 🇺🇸 (@approject) February 6, 2022
Stacey Abrams cutting an ad for her opponent is extremely weird I would not recommend this strategy https://t.co/L5d7zaZb4F
— Seth Mandel (@SethAMandel) February 6, 2022
Meanwhile: since @staceyabrams is a very sophisticated and important liberal, I'm sure there's something in The Science™ that justifies her being maskless indoors, surrounded by young kids forced to wear masks all day. Maybe she's holding her breath?https://t.co/noF3AuANq0
— Glenn Greenwald (@ggreenwald) February 6, 2022
In so many ways, this picture embodies the elitism, arrogance, cruelty, science denial, and glib authoritarianism of Joe Biden’s Democrat Party. https://t.co/hUkLNBKa1I
— Stephen Miller (@StephenM) February 6, 2022
— Patricia Murphy (@politicalinsidr) February 6, 2022
Abrams joins a slew of Democrat politicians who have recently been caught posing maskless for photos. California Gov. Gavin Newsom (D), who has imposed a statewide mask mandate on his residents, was pictured last weekend at the NFC Championship Game posing maskless with NBA star Magic Johnson.
Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti (D) was also photographed with Johnson at the game and later justified that “when people ask for a photograph, I hold my breath.”
Rep. Jamaal Bowman (D-NY) was pictured this past week as the only maskless individual in a photo one day after reminding people to “make sure to mask up.”
— Libs of Tik Tok (@libsoftiktok) February 6, 2022