Karla Hernandez-Mats Jokingly Compares Special Education Students to State Legislature

Karla Hernandez-Mats Jokingly Compares Special Education Students to State Legislature

This joke would work anywhere but the campaign trail

Grayson Bakich
Grayson Bakich
September 14, 2022

The gubernatorial campaign of Charlie Crist (D) cannot seem to help itself from engaging in gaffes and alienating rhetoric.

Crist recently compared himself to Jesus and Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) to Satan, but Crist's running mate Karla Hernandez-Mats may have just topped him.

DeSantis War Room posted a clip Wednesday morning where Hernandez-Mats is speaking at a campaign event. While describing her teaching career as influencing her activism, Hernandez-Mats makes a joke that her specialization in special education for the emotionally handicapped qualified her for "dealing with the dysfunctional legislature."

"Charlie Crist's running mate, Karla Hernandez Mats a.k.a. #KarlaMarx, explains that she is an "activist" educator. She then says that her experience as a "sped teacher" working with "emotionally handicapped" students qualifies her to "deal with the dysfunctional Legislature," DeSantis War Room tweeted.

In the clip, Mats describers herself as a "sped teacher." While she is obviously using this as a contraction of "special education," such a word is frequently used as an insult.

Nonetheless, she continues, "And so here we are.  I'm a teacher, I am a sped teacher, so my major was emotionally handicapped education. That by itself qualifies me to deal with the dysfunctional legislature," which earns her applause.

First Lady of Florida Casey DeSantis was quick to respond.

"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," stated Mrs. DeSantis.

Admittedly, such a joke does have shock value that makes it funny in other contexts and could work in either direction.

However, offensive humor does not bode well on the campaign trail or in public office. President Biden learned this the hard way attempting to make a joke during a speech for cancer survivors and patients.

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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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