Florida Rep. Matt Gaetz reveals he lives with a 19-year-old Cuban immigrant whom he calls his son

Alex Wong/Getty ImagesRep. Matt Gaetz.
  • Florida Rep. Matt Gaetz said on Thursday that he lives with a Cuban immigrant named Nestor whom he calls his son.
  • “For all those wondering, this is my son Nestor,” Gaetz tweeted along with a photo of him and the man he identified as Nestor. “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.”
  • The Florida congressman’s tweets came after he got into a shouting match with Louisiana Rep. Cedric Richmond at a House hearing this week on police reform.
  • After Richmond discussed the injustice that Black people like him and his son face, Gaetz interjected and asked, “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 has previously posted photos and videos featuring Nestor in which he described him as a “local student” and a “helper.” But Thursday was the first time he publicly referred to Nestor as his son.
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Florida Rep. Matt Gaetz said on Thursday that he lives with a Cuban immigrant named Nestor whom he calls his son.

“For all those wondering, this is my son Nestor,” Gaetz tweeted along with a photo of him and the man he identified as Nestor. “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.”

In a follow-up tweet, Gaetz wrote that Nestor turned 19 a few days ago and “will be off to University.”

“He arrived here at 12,” Gaetz tweeted. “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 Florida congressman’s tweets came after he made headlines the previous day for getting into a shouting match with Louisiana Rep. Cedric Richmond during a House Judiciary Committee hearing on police reform.

After Richmond discussed the injustice that Black people like him and his son face, Gaetz interjected and asked, “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.”

Richmond cut Gaetz off, saying, “I’m not about to get sidetracked about the colour of our children. We’re talking about Black people in the streets that are getting killed, 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. So let’s be clear about that.”

Gaetz yelled back: “You’re claiming you have more concern for my family than I do? Who in the hell do you think you are? This is outrageous.”

Shortly after Gaetz tweeted on Thursday that Nestor is his son, the hashtag #freenestor began trending on Twitter as several users suggested, without evidence, that Nestor hadn’t consented to the congressman posting photos of him.

Former California Rep. Katie Hill, who resigned from Congress last year, later weighed in on the matter.

“Many of you know @mattgaetz & I have an unlikely friendship,” Hill tweeted. “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 bulls—. Stop.”

“Also he was never ‘hiding’ his son,” Hill continued in a second tweet. “He was trying to protect him from the crap that comes from being a politician’s kid, esp after what Nestor had been through, esp in this political climate. Now that Nestor is grown he’s made his own choice to enter the spotlight. Good for them.”

Jose Felix Diaz, an executive vice president at the political consulting firm Ballard Partners, also posted a tweet defending Gaetz, writing, “I am seeing so many hateful comments about Matt Gaetz & Nestor. When that kid lost his mum, 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.”

The Florida congressman has posted photographs and videos that feature Nestor before, but Thursday was the first time he publicly referred to Nestor, who is a former House of Representatives page, as his son.

Matt gaetz nestor donald trump jrNestor Galban/FacebookNestor with Gaetz and Donald Trump Jr.

In March 2016, Gaetz posted a photo on Facebook of him and two “local students,” one of whom is Nestor.

“It was great working with local students Sofia Burleson and Nestor Galban in Tallahassee this last week,” the post said. “They were fantastic House pages!”

Matt gaetz nestorMatt Gaetz/Facebook

Gaetz also posted a video in December 2017 in which he referred to Nestor as his “helper.”

Gaetz’s sister, Erin, also tweeted out several older photos of Gaetz and Nestor.

The congressman’s office did not immediately respond to questions about whether Nestor had consented to Gaetz posting the tweets about him on Thursday or if he considers Gaetz a parent.

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