TALLAHASSEE (FLV) – Republicans are facing increasing attacks from Florida Democrats hinging on pointing to mental disabilities, something opponents of former President Donald Trump frequently denounced.
On the topic of Gov. Ron DeSantis sending illegal immigrants to Martha’s Vineyard, Democrat State Sen. Jason Pizzo issued disability-focused comments to attack the incumbent Republican.
Florida’s Voice Founder and Editor-in-Chief Brendon Leslie pointed out that Florida Democrats by-and-large voted in favor of the budget approving the flights: “The great irony in Florida Democrats complaining about Governor DeSantis flying the illegal immigrants to Martha’s Vineyard is that many of them voted YES on the state budget that funded this trip.”
Pizzo replied, “It’s not great irony [Brendon], it’s the power hungry machinations of a cruel and unhappy person, uncomfortable with themselves, perhaps desperately trying to hide underlying issues with Asperger’s, or personal trauma.” The senator voted in favor of DeSantis’ budget, which approved funding for the flights.
Florida’s Voice reached out to Pizzo publicly on social media and privately by email and has not yet received a response. Any comment will be included in this report if provided.
According to WebMD, Asperger’s Syndrome falls in a category called the “autism spectrum disorder”:
When you meet someone who has Asperger’s syndrome, you might notice two things right off. They’re just as smart as other folks, but they have more trouble with social skills. They also tend to have an obsessive focus on one topic or perform the same behaviors again and again…
[The symptoms] start early in life. If you’re a mom or dad of a kid who has it, you may notice that they can’t make eye contact. You may also find that your child seems awkward in social situations and doesn’t know what to say or how to respond when someone talks to them. They may miss social cues that are obvious to other folks, like body language or the expressions on people’s faces.
For instance, they may not realize that when somebody crosses their arms and scowls, they’re angry. Another sign is that your child may show few emotions. They may not smile when they’re happy or laugh at a joke. Or they may speak in a flat, robotic kind of way.Asperger’s Syndrome, WebMD.
Users quickly jumped at Pizzo for attacking DeSantis by referencing a legitimate mental condition.
“Disparaging people with Asperger’s isn’t a very good look,” one said. “Perhaps its a great time to take this down and not use special needs folks in the way you did. Thankful to governor [DeSantis] that our kids had special olympics. you [wouldn’t] have let them play.”
Some users said they are parents to children with the disability Pizzo used to attack DeSantis: “My son has Asperger‘s Pizzo! Why the hell are you using that disability in your tweet? Asperger’s has nothing to do with any of this! Are you that uneducated that you cannot put better words together to create a sentence.”
“Asperger’s [isn’t] personal trauma. -mom of 2 with autism,” another replied.
One user responded saying, “Having Asperger’s is not something to be mocked, or shamed about. Public officials should know better.”
Earlier this week, Charlie Crist’s running mate Karla Hernandez-Mats brought up her experience as a “sp-ed” teacher dealing with “emotionally handicapped” learning, which she said qualifies her to deal with what she calls a “dysfunctional” GOP state legislature.
“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,” Hernandez-Mats said, leading the audience to laugh and applaud. Republicans currently make up the majority of Florida’s state legislature.
“Just wow. Sounds like she resented her students,” the DeSantis campaign said on Twitter. The Crist campaign has not yet replied to Florida’s Voice’s request for comment on the remarks.
Special education teachers work with students who need extra, individual, and personalized attention due to a variety of underlying developmental challenges, ranging from severe to mild learning disabilities or other conditions that hinder the learning process.
Florida First Lady Casey DeSantis went after Hernandez-Mats for the comment, saying she was “sickened by callous words from someone who claims to be an advocate for children.” The running mate doubled down, calling Gov. Ron DeSantis a “wannabe dictator” who she says embraces “sex predator” Matt Gaetz, who has not been convicted of any sort of sexual crime.
Charlie Crist avoided answering a question from a reporter on the comments, abruptly ending a press conferenced when asked: “We’re dealing with a serious topic right now – let’s stay on this topic and continue to be serious, thank you, ya’ll have a great day. Pray for these people.”
Mainstream media reported extensively on Donald Trump’s supposed mocking of a disabled reporter.
“Democrats have made sure the public has seen and heard about Trump’s extended riff over and over again. It has been played in ads created by the Clinton campaign, including a highly-circulated one involving children silently watching, and by groups working on Clinton’s behalf,” NBC News reported. “Bill Clinton even said in his convention speech that his wife ‘never made fun of people with disabilities. She tried to empower them based on their ability.'”
Trump says he did not mock a disabled reporter, to which outlets like the Washington Post claim is false: “It remains a mystery why Trump feels the need to revisit past controversies, particularly ones that reflect poorly on his tenor and judgment. But, as the evidence shows, Trump clearly mocked Kovaleski — who in any case never ‘groveled’ or in any way took back his reporting.”
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Florida’s Voice is a patriotic news network that you can trust to deliver the truth with no hidden agenda. Founder and Editor in Chief Brendon Leslie left his job in mainstream news to practice journalism as it should be, unbiased and unbossed.