Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-Fla.) revealed that he has a non-biological teenage son who immigrated to the United States from Cuba.
What are the details?
Gaetz tweeted out a picture of himself and a young man on Thursday with the message, “For all those wondering, this is my son Nestor [Galban]. 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.”
The Republican added, “Nestor turned 19 a few days ago & will be off to University. He arrived here at 12.”
Signaling the reasoning behind his post, Gaetz explained, “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.”
The news came as a surprise to many on social media, as this is the first time the congressman — who is not married — has spoken publicly about having a son. It is unclear whether Gaetz formally adopted Nestor.
Gaetz’s sister, Erin Gaetz, confirmed on social media, “Nestor came into our lives when he was 12 and had just lost his mother. He didn’t speak English, but luckily, Matt speaks Spanish. Matt has been an incredible father to Nestor…so proud of them both.”
Nestor also replied to his father’s post, writing, “I love you, keep up the good work, we all support you and love you!”
Rep. Gaetz was hit with a barrage of skeptical tweets and criticism from trolls over his announcement, and some even pushed the hashtag, “#freenestor.”
One of the people who defended the Republican was former congresswoman Katie Hill (D-Calif.), who wrote, “Many of you know @mattgaetz & I have an unlikely friendship. I can’t stand a lot of his beliefs but he’s been there for me when others haven’t. He talks about Nestor more than anything, has done so much for his son & is truly a proud dad. This #freenestor thing is bullshit. Stop.”
What ‘triggered’ Gaetz?
On Wednesday, Gaetz engaged in a heated exchange with Rep. Cedric Richmond (D-La.) during a markup of the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act.
Richmond, who is black, said that Republicans could not relate to the discrimination he has faced during his life, or to the concerns he has as the parent of a black son.
Gaetz asked Richmond, “Are you suggesting that you’re certain that none of us have non-white children?”
The congressman from Louisiana replied, “I’m concerned about black people 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.”
With that, Gaetz fired back, “You’re claiming you have more concern for my family than I do? Who in the hell do you think you are?”
Richmond taunted, “Was that a nerve?”
FIERY: Cedric Richmond and Matt Gaetz get into HEATED shouting match during House debate