Top Democrat Comes Under Fire

Gage Skidmore from Surprise, AZ, United States of America, CC BY-SA 2.0 , via Wikimedia Commons

The hypocrisy is unreal.

Over the weekend, Democratic gubernatorial candidate Stacey Abrams received backlash after images appeared online of Abrams posing maskless in a room full of masked elementary school children, who were wearing masks because it was mandated.

Following a visit to Glenwood Elementary School in Decatur, Georgia, to kick off the third annual African American read-in, the school’s principal, Dr. Holly Brookins, took to Twitter to publish four pictures of the gubernatorial candidate’s visit. Of these pictures, three show Abrams without a mask, despite the Decatur City Commission reintroducing a mask mandate in schools in January.

One of the images that went viral showed Abram sitting on the floor and smiling, surrounded by children and adults who were all wearing masks. Quote tweeting the picture posted by Brookins, Abram said her visit was “spectacular, delightful, and outstanding.”

As backlash intensified, it appeared, as of Sunday morning, that Brookins had deactivated her Twitter account, an act that removed the quote tweet from her timeline but had no effect on slowing down the backlash.

National Review editor Rich Lowry tweeted that “mask hypocrisy is practically a status symbol now” and served as confirmation that “Stace Abrams is a member of the Democratic elite.”

Outkick founder Clay Travis referenced the “number of left wing politicians who post photos posing without masks while all the kids around them are wearing” in a tweet before pointing to Abrams being the latest culprit and calling the action “child abuse.”

Georgia’s Republican Governor Brian Kemp also voiced his disapproval of Abrams’s actions on Twitter, stating, “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.”

Politico reporter Alex Thompson, a White House correspondent, predicted in a tweet that the Abrams photo would make an appearance in many Republican ads ahead of the midterms.

In a statement responding to the backlash, the Abrams campaign 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 continue to look for opportunities to distract from their failed records when it comes to protecting public health during the pandemic.”

The statement also called out Abrams’ “opponents,” of downplaying the virus for his gain following “his private coronavirus briefings as a Senator” and another opponent for attacking “mayors seeking to protect their citizens” and failing to “expand access to Medicaid even as rural hospitals close.” The statement concluded, stating that the “pathetic, transparent and silly” attacks were “beneath anyone who claims he wants to lead Georgia.”

Before the statement was released, Lauren Groh-Wargo, a spokeswoman for Abrams, tweeted that “Stacey trusts science and supports masking in schools as it’s the current CDC recommendation,” adding that the gubernatorial candidate “wore a mask to the event, and removed it at the podium so she could be heard by students watching remotely and for photos, but only with folks who were masked.”