CNN panel bashes Stacey Abrams over maskless photo at school: ‘It was a gift to … Republicans’

A CNN panel blasted Stacey Abrams, who is running for governor in Georgia, over a photo taken of her unmasked with masked schoolchildren on Monday’s “Inside Politics.”

CNN host John King said, “One thing she did manage to do is unite Brian Kemp, the incumbent Republican governor, and David Perdue, the Trump-endorsed primary challenger. They both … [said] that she was being a hypocrite.”

“It was a gift to the … Republicans,” he added. 

Stacey Abrams

Stacey Abrams
(REUTERS/Elijah Nouvelage/File Photo)

CNN political analyst Zolan Kanno-Youngs said the campaign or Abrams herself should have known better than to retweet the photo. 

“If you’re running this campaign [or if] you’re … Stacey Abrams … you know … that this is going to be something the Republicans will seize on,” he said


He added that it’s also an opportunity to encourage mask-wearing, “We’re still in a pandemic. You have all of these students behind you as well, and that’s something you should want to encourage.”

After the backlash ensued on Twitter, the tweet was deleted. A campaign statement was released that blamed critics for launching a “false political attack.”

“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 said.

Former CNN Worldwide president Jeff Zucker

Former CNN Worldwide president Jeff Zucker
(REUTERS/Lucas Jackson)

The network’s congressional reporter, Melanie Zanona, said, “It was handled … so poorly.”

“They deleted the tweet, and then she put out a statement sort of dismissing the attacks as silly,” Zanona said.



Zanona highlighted how Democrats are failing to maintain a message that resonates with voters. 

“The broader challenge for Democrats right now is they don’t seem to have a good rebuttal or counter-message to what Republicans have been seizing on. [Republicans have] been positioning themselves as the party of parents – they’re leaning into educational and parental issues, … the culture wars, and that has been an effective message for them. It’s really resonating in suburban battlegrounds ahead of the midterms,” she said. “Democrats … could say … the reason why we’re still in this, why our kids are still wearing masks [is because] Republicans have undermined efforts at every turn to combat the pandemic. But Democrats have not had a good counter-message thus far.”

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