A maskless Stacey Abrams gets GOP fired up 

Reports indicate Abrams only removed her mask on the condition that everyone in the classroom continue to wear a face-covering.

A photo of Stacey Abrams is getting pushback from Georgia Republicans after the Democratic gubernatorial candidate posed maskless with a classroom of elementary students. 

According to CNN, the photos were posted on Twitter Friday by Abrams and Holly Brookins, principal of Glennwood Elementary School in Decatur. Brookins captioned the tweet, “Extraordinary way to kick off the 3rd Annual African-American Read-In at Glennwood and Black History Month. Thrilled to host @staceyabrams author of Stacey’s Extraordinary Words!”

Voting rights activist Stacey Abrams speaks during an October 2021 get-out-the-vote rally in Charlottesville, Virginia. (Photo: Amos/Getty Images)

Abrams reportedly quote-tweeted the principal’s photos, thanking Brookins for hosting her. Per CNN, Brookins has since deleted the messages and deactivated her Twitter account. Abrams has also deleted her tweet. 

However, the photos had time to make the rounds among the political right, whose members are calling Abrams appearing maskless in the school hypocritical. 

On Twitter, Georgia Governor Brian Kemp wrote: “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.”

Former Senator David Perdue, who is challenging Kemp for the Republican nomination for Georgia governor, released a lengthy statement on the matter via his Twitter account, writing, in part, “Where is Stacey’s mask? We all know Stacey Abrams’ hypocrisy knows no bounds.”

“Liberals’ thirst for power during this pandemic has caused enormous damage to our kids,” he added, “while the elite like Stacey continue living their lives.” 

On Sunday, the Abrams camp released a statement via Instagram, responding to the criticism.

“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,” the statement read. “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.”

“One of Stacey’s opponents downplayed the virus while trading stock to profit off the pandemic after his private coronavirus briefings as a Senator,” the statement continued. “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.”

While a senator during the early part of the pandemic, Perdue was investigated for insider stock trading linked to the coronavirus, as was fellow Republican Georgia Senator Kelly Loeffler. The Department of Justice closed those investigations in 2021, per CNN, but Perdue and Loeffler were both defeated in their reelection campaigns by Democrats Jon Ossoff and Rev. Raphael Warnock. 

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution obtained photo footage of the event at Glennwood Elementary, which reportedly shows Abrams arriving at the podium wearing a mask and removing it as she begins to speak. According to the report, Abrams only removed her mask on the condition that everyone else at the event continued to wear a face-covering. 

The AJC notes that Abrams has not publicly declared a position on mask mandates for schools, although she supports mask-wearing as the pandemic continues. Her spokesman, Seth Bringman, said she would “continue to look to the science and public health experts to guide recommendations” if elected governor.

According to other reporting, Abrams has outraised Kemp, with more than $9.2 million in financial support since declaring her candidacy in December, compared to $7.4 million raised by Kemp. Perdue has not released his fundraising totals.

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