‘It shows that they’re afraid of her,’ Crist said.
Democratic gubernatorial candidate Charlie Crist and his running mate Karla Hernández are fighting back against Republicans’ trolling of the teachers union president as “Karla Marx.”
“I believe in democracy. I am anti-communism. I actually was out with pots and pans celebrating the death of Fidel Castro when he died,” Hernández said at an Orlando event. “It is a shame that they try to bully a teacher.”
Hernández is the daughter of Honduran immigrants. She’s the president of the United Teachers of Dade union in Miami and a former Teacher of the Year at Hialeah Middle School.
Ever since Republicans discovered a tweet Hernández posted in 2016 regarding the death of Fidel Castro, they’ve been disparaging her in campaign email and social media with the vilification #KarlaMarx, seeking to tie her to the 19th century socialist revolutionary philosopher.
Hernández deleted her 2016 tweet, tried to explain it as being about how Cubans were “forced” to mourn Castro’s death, and sought to reassure in her own anti-Castro bona fides. Yet the trolls are swarming, including from inside the campaign of Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis.
Crist characterized the Republicans’ tactic as an expression of fear.
“It shows that they’re afraid of her. She’s a strong woman. She’s Hispanic. She’s from Miami-Dade. She’s bilingual. She’s brilliant. She was a special ed teacher. That’s a lot of greatness for what she can do,” Crist said. “So they’re trying to poke holes in it. It’s all junk.”
Republicans have been coming after Hernández in a variety of ways, slamming her criticism of DeSantis’ plan to address teacher shortages by having military veterans to take teachers jobs, and trying to link her to a former member of her teachers union who is serving jail time for sexually assaulting students.
Hernández has been on the defensive for both, and has called the second allegation a lie. Now, she’s doing a bit of teacher-like scolding toward Republicans’ suggestion that she might support communism.
“My husband is a Russian Jew who fled the Soviet Union and communism,” she said. “So for them to act in this way, so childish and in this manner, says exactly what the Governor (Crist) is saying, that they’re scared of us and they’re trying to portray things that are unfactual, not true.”