Karla Hernandez-Mats, the running mate of Florida gubernatorial candidate Charlie Crist (D), is facing backlash after videos surfaced showing her effectively mocking special needs students as “dysfunctional.”
Hernandez-Mats suggested during a campaign event in Cape Coral that she was qualified to be state’s next lieutenant governor because she used to be a special education teacher.
“I’m a teacher, I am a sp-ed teacher, so my major was emotionally-handicapped education, okay? That by itself qualifies me to deal with the dysfunctional legislature,” Hernandez-Mats said in a video that was first obtained by Fox News. “[It’s] a unique set of, uh, you know, skill sets in order to deal with them.”
DISGUSTING: Karla Hernandez-Mats says because she’s a “sped teacher” that makes her qualified to “deal with the dysfunctional Legislature”
Charlie Crist really knows how to pick ‘em! pic.twitter.com/vL61WSObbl
— Brendon Leslie (@BrendonLeslie) September 14, 2022
Hernandez-Mats has reportedly made the remarks at least three times in public, according to the DeSantis War Room.
“So, I became a special education,” she said at a separate event. “My major was emotionally-handicapped education, and so that by itself uniquely makes me qualified to deal with dysfunctional legislators.”
Charlie Crist's running mate, @KarlaforFlorida, really thinks this "joke" at the expense of her special education students is hilarious. So funny she's told it in public at least 3 times
Karla, kids with disabilities are humans…not a punchline to mock your political opponents. pic.twitter.com/UnucICCoqG
— DeSantis War Room (@DeSantisWarRoom) September 14, 2022
Florida Governor Ron DeSantis’ (R) wife, Casey DeSantis, slammed Hernandez-Mats over the remarks in a post on social media Wednesday afternoon.
“Sickened by callous words from someone who claims to be an advocate for children,” the first lady wrote. “Karla, saying children w/ unique abilities are ‘dysfunctional’ & equating them to political opponents is a new low. I will make it my mission to let all parents know of the ‘hate in your heart.’”
Sickened by callous words from someone who claims to be an advocate for children.
Karla, saying children w/ unique abilities are “dysfunctional” & equating them to political opponents is a new low.
I will make it my mission to let all parents know of the “hate in your heart.”
— Casey DeSantis (@CaseyDeSantis) September 14, 2022
Hernandez-Mats is the president of the Miami-Dade County teachers union and has a history of making highly controversial remarks.
She previously claimed in a tweet that “many in Cuba mourn[ed]” the death of oppressive communist dictator Fidel Castro.
She recently deleted the tweet after it resurfaced and sparked a headache for the campaign.
The Daily Wire published an interview with Casey DeSantis on Wednesday in which Florida’s first lady launched a campaign to unite mother’s against the political Left’s extreme agenda.
“It’s one thing when you come after a mama,” Casey DeSantis said in an interview with The Daily Wire following her “Mamas for DeSantis” event in Coral Gables. “It’s another thing if you come after her kids.”
Casey DeSantis launched “Mamas for DeSantis” in late June, an initiative accompanying her husband’s reelection campaign to spur Florida’s “moms, grandmas, abuelas, nanas” to get involved in the governor’s 2022 re-election.