By Sandra Rose  | 

Slaven Vlasic/Getty Images

Stacey Abrams has apologized for requiring school children to wear face masks so she could remove hers for a photo op.

The controversy began when Abrams tweeted a photo that showed her sitting on a floor in a classroom surrounded by schoolchildren who were all masked up while she was bare faced.

Photo may have been deleted

Georgia is one of the red states where face masks are not mandated indoors or outdoors.

Abrams' campaign team allegedly required children and staff members to mask up so she could remove her mask during her visit to Glennwood Elementary School to celebrate Black History Month.

Abrams deleted the image from her Twitter page as outrage and condemnation erupted on Twitter.com.

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Abrams' camp initially blamed "racism" for the public backlash across social media.

"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," her campaign team wrote in a statement.

But by Tuesday, the 48-year-old Democrat had backtracked and apologized.

"Protocols matter. Protecting our kids is the most important thing, and anything that can be perceived as undermining that is a mistake, and I apologize," she tweeted on Tuesday.

Abrams again admitted she made a "mistake" in an interview with CNN on Tuesday. She said she took her mask off to read to the children at Glennwood Elementary School.

Political pundits and even the liberal co-hosts of "The View" accused the Georgia gubernatorial candidate of violating her own political party's mandate.