Georgia Democratic gubernatorial candidate Stacey Abrams faced intense backlash this weekend after a photo surfaced of her being the only person in a room full of children who was not wearing a mask.
Abrams’ campaign claimed without evidence that the photo was “a false political attack,” even though a photograph exists of the incident that happened while Abrams was visiting Glennwood Elementary School to kick off its annual African American read-in.
“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,” Abrams’ campaign said in a statement, later adding: “This pathetic, transparent and silly attack is beneath anyone who claims he wants to lead Georgia.”
Notable responses to the incident and to the statement from Abrams’ campaign included:
- Betsy DeVos, former Education Secretary: “It’s not that Abrams chose not to wear a mask. It’s that those kids and their families are denied the opportunity to make the same choice.”
- Stephen Miller, former Trump adviser: “In so many ways, this picture embodies the elitism, arrogance, cruelty, science denial, and glib authoritarianism of Joe Biden’s Democrat Party.”
- Chris Barron, political consultant: “Did she have an invisible mask on? Did someone rip her mask off? Is this photo-shopped? Given her obesity and the co-morbidity concerns with COVID shouldn’t be the one with mask on?”
- Kayleigh McEnany, former press secretary: “The Left has betrayed our children with these totally insane COVID mandates. What a travesty. This pictures says it all!”
- Guy Benson, Townhall: “Abrams campaign now playing the race card in defending that pathetic photo-op. Because of course they are.”
- Dr. Mehmet Oz, U.S. Senate candidate: “This picture encompasses everything wrong with the far left, like Stacey Abrams and the mandates harming our children.”
- Benjamin Weingarten, RealClearInvestigations: “So they have no explanation for why the indefensible masking of children persists while the non-Governor of Georgia—who is more at risk than the kids—gets to breathe freely.”
- Scott Walker, former Wisconsin governor: “This will go down as one of the dumbest political moves in history. I would run this picture over and over again. Total contempt for voters- particularly parents with kids forced to wear masks in schools. They can post a million tweets trying to distract but voters can see it.”
- Charles C.W. Cooke, National Review: “This photo is catastrophic for Abrams, and her party, and you know it.”
- Caleb Hull, digital strategist: “Stacey Abrams, who is obese and in the high risk category, not wearing a mask while children, who are in the lowest risk category, are all masked just about sums this whole pandemic up.”
- Brian Riedl, economist: “To the surprise of no one, Stacey Abrams is once again refusing to take the ‘L.'”