‘Mountain out of a molehill’: Charlie Crist dismisses criticism of Karla Hernández remarks
Karla Hernandez-Mats and Charlie Crist. Image via AP.

Karla Hernandez-Mats Charlie Crist
The exchange came a day after Crist declined to answer a reporter's question about Hernández's comment.

Charlie Crist does not say running mate Karla Hernández crossed a line with her comment that her background in teaching special education qualifies her to deal with a “dysfunctional Legislature.”

The comment, viewed as a joke by some, is the latest target of attack Republicans are driving against the Democratic gubernatorial ticket.

“She’s great. She’s great. They’re making a mountain out of a molehill,” Crist told Florida Politics of Hernández’s critics.

The exchange came a day after Crist declined to answer a reporter’s question about Hernández’s remarks, recorded in a video clip that has sparked outrage among critics. The news conference chiefly concerned the state-sponsored flights of migrants to Martha’s Vineyard Wednesday.

“We’re dealing with a serious topic right now,” he told reporters. “Let’s stay on this topic and continue to be serious.”

Crist announced Hernández, president of the United Teachers of Dade union, as his running mate late last month. The Hernández clip is of a Tuesday Cape Coral event obtained by Fox News Digital.

“I’m a sp-ed (special education) teacher, so my major is emotionally handicapped education, OK?” Hernández says in the clip. “That by itself qualifies me to deal with a dysfunctional Legislature.”

Crist, the Democratic nominee for Governor, selected the union leader in part for her background in education in an attempt to contrast the ticket against Gov. Ron DeSantis and his education agenda.

First Lady Casey DeSantis tweeted her outrage over Hernández’s remark on Wednesday.

“Sickened by callous words from someone who claims to be an advocate for our children,” the First Lady wrote. And then she addressed Hernández in her tweet. “I will make it my mission to let all parents know of the ‘hate in your heart.’”

However, Crist’s team is standing firm.

“Ron DeSantis just trafficked families and children fleeing a brutal socialist regime for his own political purposes. Karla Hernández devoted her life to teaching children with exceptional needs. It’s clear what’s in her heart and Floridians are sick of the hate in his,” Crist’s communications director, Samantha Ramirez, said in a statement to Florida Politics Thursday evening.

Stephanie Rivera, national Press Secretary for the Republican State Leadership Committee, said Crist’s running mate hit a new low in her attack on the state’s Republican-led Legislature.

“Calling the (Legislature) dysfunctional and then comparing it to special needs students is disgraceful and a new low for (Karla Hernandez-Mats),” the committee’s rapid response team tweeted Wednesday. “Hernandez-Mats’ out-of-touch rhetoric proves she’s unfit to represent Floridians, and she owes Florida special needs students an apology.”

Despite Crist’s response, Republicans say Hernández’s comment isn’t to be written off.

“She was disrespectful of people who have special needs,” Evan Power, Chairman of Chairs of the Republican Party of Florida, told Florida Politics. “It’s not an insignificant remark and it speaks to how she’s out of touch with the voters of Florida.”

Renzo Downey

Renzo Downey covers state government for Florida Politics. After graduating from Northwestern University in 2019, Renzo began his reporting career in the Lone Star State, covering state government for the Austin American-Statesman. Shoot Renzo an email at [email protected] and follow him on Twitter @RenzoDowney.


15 comments

  • Charlie Crist

    September 16, 2022 at 2:59 pm

    Elect me. Let’s put an end to GOP lies, grifting, and crime. Even I got sick of it and quit the GOP for Christ sakes! That should tell you something right there!😆

    Reply

  • Avy115

    September 16, 2022 at 3:27 pm

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  • Paul

    September 16, 2022 at 3:37 pm

    Sat it again and say it LOUDER Ms. Hernandez! I love it when fascist crybabies get all fake PC about liberals daring to use THEIR tactics. Ans bite me, First “Lady” DiStinkus.

    Reply

  • Karla Hernandez

    September 16, 2022 at 3:57 pm

    Vote for me. I’ll sort out these conservative nitwits… using the military if I have to. God already knows someone of them need to be annihilated for the sake of humanity. Donald Trump should be executed tomorrow.

    Reply

  • Tom

    September 16, 2022 at 6:04 pm

    Yes, you say chameleon:
    You are a mole that has turned into a mountain. Asinine selection, this enchilada is a joke.
    What the hell u thinking Charlie chameleon.
    You are the biggest idiot next to Joey corsin.

    Reply

    • Joe Corsin

      September 16, 2022 at 7:21 pm

      You need medication…

      Reply

  • Brandon

    September 16, 2022 at 7:42 pm

    Karla Marx, the gift that keeps on giving.

    Reply

    • Fat Cammack

      September 16, 2022 at 8:29 pm

      💋

      Reply

  • tom palmer

    September 16, 2022 at 10:20 pm

    Wasn’t it the GOP who took a shot at the Special Olympics earlier this year over a petty spat over masks? Give us a break.

    Reply

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