“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 the public health during the pandemic,” the campaign said in a statement.
The photograph in question was posted by the principal at Glennwood Elementary School in Decatur after Abrams visited on Feb. 4.
Abrams was the only person in the picture without a mask, including children and faculty in an indoor room.
The principal deleted the picture and her Twitter account after Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp and former U.S. Sen. David Perdue, two Republicans running for governor, criticized Abrams.
“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,” Tate Mitchell, the Kemp campaign’s press secretary, said in a statement. “This kind of hypocrisy is exactly why Georgians see her campaign for governor for what it truly is: a quest for more power.”
Perdue added: “We all know Stacey Abrams’ hypocrisy knows no bounds. Liberals’ thirst for power during this pandemic has caused enormous damage to our kids, while the elite like Stacey continue living their lives. What is even worse is that this is a classroom in Brian Kemp’s GA, not NY or CA.”
Abrams’s campaign didn’t respond by press time when asked why the Democrat wasn’t wearing a mask. The school didn’t respond to an inquiry by press time.
The campaign told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution that Abrams was wearing a mask but took it off so she could be heard while reading to children and while posing for pictures while stipulating that everybody else in the room keep their mask on.
A spokesman also said Abrams thinks schools should require masks for students and staff members.
The campaign denounced Perdue, noting that he traded stocks shortly after receiving private briefings as a senator early in the pandemic, and Kemp, who was described as having “attacked mayors seeking to protect their citizens.”
Kemp and former Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms, a Democrat, clashed last year over the city’s mask mandate, with Kemp issuing an executive order barring all local governments in the state from imposing mask or vaccine mandates.