Videos have surfaced of Florida gubernatorial candidate Charlie Crist’s (D) running mate, Karla Hernandez-Mats, effectively mocking special needs students as “dysfunctional.”
Hernandez-Mats, who is currently the president of the Miami-Dade County teachers union, is facing backlash after multiple videos surfaced of her telling the same “joke” about her special needs students.
During a campaign event in Cape Coral, the Democrat claimed that she was qualified to be Florida’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 an unearthed video 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
That wasn’t the only time the Florida Democrat made those remarks. According to the DeSantis War Room, Hernandez-Mats has said this at least three times in public.
“So, I became a special education teacher,” she said during 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, called Hernandez-Mats out in a tweet, responding to the remarks that she called “a new low.”
“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,’” she wrote, referencing a comment from Hernandez-Mats’ running mate, Charlie Crist, in which he said that supporters of Ron DeSantis had “hate” in their hearts.
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