EXCLUSIVE – Karla Hernández-Mats, the running mate of Democratic gubernatorial candidate Charlie Crist suggested she is qualified to become Florida’s next lieutenant governor because her experience as a special education teacher can help her “deal with the dysfunctional legislature.”
At a campaign event on Tuesday in Cape Coral, Hernández-Mats relied on her background in education, specifically working with children with special needs, as a qualification for holding statewide office and for handling lawmakers.
“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,” Hernández-Mats said in a video obtained by Fox News Digital.
Her comment sparked applause from her supporters.
“[It’s] a unique set of, uh, you know, skill sets in order to deal with them,” she added.
The Crist campaign did not immediately respond to Fox News’ request for comment.
Hernández-Mats, the vice president of the second-largest teachers union in the country, was tapped by Crist last month to join Florida’s Democratic ticket.
But ever since she became Crist’s running mate, past comments made by Hernández-Mats have come back to haunt her.
In 2016, marking the death of Cuban dictator Fidel Castro, Hernández-Mats tweeted, “A political figure dies at 90. Most in Miami rejoice, many in Cuba mourn #FidelCastro.” She only deleted the tweet after it resurfaced.
She addressed the controversy, writing, “I proudly celebrated Fidel’s death, banging on pots and pans in the streets of Hialeah with my neighbors. It was heartbreaking that after decades of oppression, the Cuban people were forced to mourn the death of a tyrant.”
In October 2021, Hernández-Mats criticized school board meeting attendees outraged over COVID restrictions, comparing them to horror movie serial killers.
“For any of you following the school board meetings, you know that the craziness is real. God be with us. #antivaxxers #disinformation #misinformation,” the teachers union boss wrote, sharing a political cartoon with cinematic horror icons like Michael Myers, Freddy Krueger and Pennywise the Clown saying they were attending a school board meeting.
It’s not just Hernández-Mats who’s made controversial statements. Just days after clinching the Democratic nomination, Crist slammed DeSantis voters, declaring “I don’t want your vote.”
“Those who support the governor should stay with him and vote for him. And I don’t want your vote. If you have that hate in your heart, keep it there,” Crist said during his first press conference as the gubernatorial nominee.
Crist added that he only wants the vote of those who “care about our state,” including “Good Democrats, good independents [and] good Republicans.”
Crist has a history of comparing himself to Jesus Christ while repeatedly referring to his GOP opponent as “DeSatan.” The Democrat also compared himself to Volodymyr Zelenskyy, the president of Ukraine whose country has battled a Russian invasion since February.
In April, Crist said he was “open” to mandating mask-wearing depending on whether the spread of COVID makes a comeback under his governorship. DeSantis famously opposed various restrictions that were adopted by many states across the country.
Crist, a former governor of Florida, recently resigned from his post in Congress to focus on his campaign ahead of the November midterms.