Florida Republican Rep. Matt Gaetz revealed Thursday he has an adoptive 19-year old son who is an immigrant from Cuba after getting in a shouting match with a Democratic lawmaker over the experiences of black men with police.
Gaetz made the disclosure on Twitter a day after his explosive argument with Demoratic Rep. Cedric Richmond of Louisiana lit up the internet, with Gaetz telling Richmond ”Who the hell do you think you are?’ and demanding the African American Democrat explain if he was insinuating no Republican lawmakers had children who were ‘non-white.’
Rep. Matt Gaetz, a Florida Republican, revealed Thursday he has a 19-year old adoptive son, Nestor, after getting in an argument with a Democrat over police reform
‘You’re claiming you are more concerned about my family than I am,’ he thundered. ‘Who in the hell do you think you are?’
Viewers were perplexed because Gaetz had not publicly disclosed children – until now.
Gaetz, who was elected in 2016, wrote on Twitter Thursday: ‘For all those wondering, this is my son Nestor,’ and included an image of him and the young man he calls his son.
Gaetz said Nestor is 19 and is an immigrant from Cuba
‘You’re claiming you are more concerned about my family than I am,’ he said. ‘Who in the hell do you think you are?’
Richmond was speaking to his frustration with Republican efforts to include language in the legislation geared towards Antifa
The Florida politician – who is not married was not previously known to have any children – asked the Richmond if he was insinuating that Republican congressmen did not have any children who were ‘non-white’
‘We share no blood but he is my life. He came from Cuba (legally, of course) six years ago and lives with me in Florida. I am so proud of him and raising him has been the best, most rewarding thing I’ve done in my life,’ wrote Gaetz.
Gaetz wrote in a later tweet that Nestor just turned 19.
‘Nestor turned 19 a few days ago & will be off to University. He arrived here at 12. As you can imagine, I was triggered when (to make an absurd debate point) a fellow congressman diminished the contributions of Republicans because we don’t raise non-white kids. Well, I have,’ he wrote.
Gaetz has not previously revealed the son on his congressional bio, where critics on Twitter noted he does identify his dog, Scarlett.
No further information on Nestor’s official family status with the government could be obtained at press time.
Gaetz made the disclosure only after his angry confrontation with Richmond at a hearing on the House Democratic police reform bill, and after Richmond made an appeal for actions to address the fears of black men at the hands of police.
‘Are you suggesting that you’re certain none of us have nonwhite children? Because you reflect on your Black son, and you said none of us could understand,’ Gaetz intoned.
Richmond complained that Republicans were introducing amendments as a ‘tangent and a distraction.’
“I appreciate your passion. Are you suggesting that you’re certain that none of us have non-white children? Because you reflect on your black son and said none of us…” Gaetz told Richmond.
‘Matt, I am not about to get sidetracked about the color of our children. I reclaim my time!’ said Richmond.
Richmond said people on ‘the other side [of the aisle] had black grand children,’ but tried to refocus the discussion. ”Its about black males, black people getting killed in the streets and if one of them happens to be your kid, I’m concerned about him too, and clearly I’m more concerned about him than you are.’
That prompted Gaetz to start shouting: ”You’re claiming you are more concerned about my family than I am,’ he said. ‘Who in the hell do you think you are?’
Following Gaetz’ public disclosure, Jose Felix Diaz, who works at the politically connected Ballard Partners law and lobby firm, wrote: ”I am seeing so many hateful comments about Matt Gaetz & Nestor. When that kid lost his mom, Matt was dating his sister and he stepped up. Plain and simple. He has been an outstanding role model & mentor for Nestor and anyone that served with Matt knows this great kid.’
He posted an image of the three of them at an archery range.
Adding further confusion were past images posted by Gaetz that identified Nestor – but not as his son.
One at the state capital in Tallahassee showed Gaetz, Nestor, and another student. ”It was great working with local students Sofia Burleson and Nestor Galban in Tallahassee this last week’ Gaetz wrote in March 2016. ‘They were fantastic House pages!’
Nestor Galban also posted a picture of himself with Gaetz and Donald Trump Jr. last year on his facebook page.
He responded to Gaetz’ tweet writing: ‘I love you, keep up the good work, we all support you and love you!
Gaetz then responded: ‘Love you Nestor!’