Karla Hernandez-Mats Doubles Down on Comparing Legislature to Special Education Students

Karla Hernandez-Mats Doubles Down on Comparing Legislature to Special Education Students

Crist's running mate stands by controversial joke

Grayson Bakich
Grayson Bakich
|
September 23, 2022

Last week, Charlie Crist's pick for Lieutenant Governor Karla Hernandez-Mats mockingly compared the Florida legislature to special education students. She describes herself as trained to work with emotionally handicapped students, thus is qualified to deal with the "dysfunctional" legislature.

Additionally, Hernandez-Mats uses the word "sped" as a contraction of "special education," more frequently used as an insult. Florida First Lady Casey DeSantis calls the remark "callous" and "a new low." Rather than apologize, Hernandez-Mats seems to stand by the joke.

In an interview with WINK TV, host Celine MacArthur asks if Hernandez-Mats anticipated her remark to generate controversy. "Absolutely not," she answers. Instead, Hernandez-Mats contends the comparison between the legislature and special education students is a disservice to the latter group. Special education students, she says, are "actually magical and magnificent." The legislature, on the other hand, "do not operate in ways that are kind to people, or to the community, or really addressing the issues that need to be addressed." DeSantis War Room posted the clip early Friday afternoon:

"KARLA: "I'm trained in emotionally behaviorally disturbed education. It was an insult to the legislature because they're dysfunctional. That population of students is actually magical & magnificent, so it’s a disservice to them that I compared them to dysfunctional lawmakers," the tweet reads.

DeSantis' Rapid Response Director Christina Pushaw notes that Hernandez-Mats "admits that her quip (repeated 3x in public) was insulting... but does not apologize."

"In a new interview, Charlie Crist's running mate @KarlaforFlorida attempts to explain why she insulted her special needs students by comparing them to "dysfunctional lawmakers". Notably, she admits that her quip (repeated 3x in public) was insulting... but does not apologize," her full tweet reads.

Pro-life advocacy group LifeNews similarly states that Hernandez-Mats' response is "no surprise from the party that is aborting every baby with Down Syndrome."

November will tell us if Florida remembers this moment.

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Grayson Bakich

Grayson Bakich

Florida born and raised, Grayson Bakich is a recent recipient of a Master’s Degree in Political Science at the University of Central Florida. His thesis examined recent trends in political polarization and how this leads into justification of violence.

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