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9 Feb, 2022 07:28

High-profile US Democrat apologizes for maskless school photo

Georgia gubernatorial candidate Stacey Abrams came under fire for posing maskless around school students
High-profile US Democrat apologizes for maskless school photo

Georgia gubernatorial candidate and former US state legislator Stacey Abrams has apologized after attracting sharp criticism for appearing maskless in a photo from her visit to Glennwood Elementary School outside Atlanta last week.

“I took a picture and that was a mistake,” Abrams told CNN’s Erin Burnett on Tuesday. “Protocols matter, and protecting our kids is the most important thing, and anything that can be perceived as undermining that is a mistake, and I apologize.”

The politician retweeted and then deleted a photo of herself smiling and maskless as she was sitting on the floor, surrounded by dozens of children, all of whom wore masks. Abrams claimed on Tuesday that she had taken her mask off when she was reading a book to students who were “socially distanced from me.”

Republican Party politicians, including Georgia Governor Brian Kemp, accused Abrams of hypocrisy regarding school mask mandates. “It looks like they wouldn’t apply when she’s attending a photo op,” Kemp tweeted on Sunday.

Abrams’ campaign responded at the time by slamming her opponents for “a false political attack.”

Masks and other Covid-19 restrictions remain a hot-button issue in the US. The controversy over Abrams erupted around the same time that former President Barack Obama was similarly criticized after being photographed without a mask while talking to construction workers at what the Daily Mail said was his Hawaii beachfront home.

Abrams ran a high-profile gubernatorial race and lost to Kemp in 2018. She made more headlines by refusing to formally concede and making allegations of massive voter suppression in the state. 

Georgians will vote for their governor on November 8.