Democratic Georgia gubernatorial candidate Stacey Abrams is doing major damage control after she shared a photo of herself maskless in a room full of schoolchildren all wearing masks.
Abrams’ campaign manager Lauren Groh-Wargo initially fired back at detractors Sunday afternoon, accusing the candidate’s critics of “licking Trump’s boots” and baselessly attacking her. Her campaign released a statement which deflected to attacks on her potential Republican opponents in the 2022 Georgia gubernatorial election.
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
“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,” Groh-Wargo said. The campaign’s statement claimed that “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 photo was shared from the third annual African American read-in at Glennwood Elementary School. (RELATED: Scarborough Says Stacey Abrams ‘Doesn’t Want To Appear On The Same Stage’ With Biden Due To His Tanking Poll Numbers)
Abrams, her campaign and allies in the media remained on the defensive later Sunday and into Monday morning. Abrams’ tweet with the photo in question, as well as a tweet promoting the photo from school principal Dr. Holly Brookins, were both deleted Sunday.
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’ campaign insisted she wore a mask throughout the event and only removed it for some photos, but with the condition that everyone else in the photos be required to keep wearing theirs, according to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. Campaign spokesman Seth Bringman said Sunday that Abrams supports schools requiring masks for kids.
— Brian Colas (@BrianColas7) February 6, 2022
The AJC said the incident “shows how schools’ COVID policies in 2022 crosshairs,” while The Washington Post framed the story as Republicans “seize on Stacey Abrams’ maskless classroom photo.” Sometime Sunday, the Abrams’ campaign posted a new job opening for a Social Media Platforms Director as the candidate was panned across social media for the school gaffe.
Stacey Abrams Gubernatorial Campaign seeks a Social Media Platforms Director to manage the day-to-day posting and approval on the campaign’s social media accounts. @staceyabrams https://t.co/JbG6Q1zK5G
— Daybook (@DaybookJobs) February 7, 2022
Abrams, who was narrowly defeated in the 2018 Georgia gubernatorial race by Republican Brian Kemp, has repeatedly insisted she was fraudulently defeated due to voter suppression and has not conceded that she legitimately lost. She is just the latest Democrat to face criticism for appearing in public without a mask despite supporting mask mandates for others during the COVID-19 pandemic.