Hours after announcing that he has a 19-year-old Cuban “son,” Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-FL) appeared alongside the teen, Nestor Galban, on Fox News’ Tucker Carlson Tonight to prove to a Democratic colleague with whom he’s been feuding that he has a “non-white” child.
Gaetz’s revelation about Galban came on the heels of his extremely heated altercation with Rep. Cedric Richmond (D-LA) during a congressional hearing on police reform, which flew off the rails when Gaetz exploded at Richmond for suggesting he didn’t know what it’s like to fear for a Black son.
“For all those wondering, this is my son 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,” Gaetz tweeted on Thursday morning. “I am so proud of him and raising him has been the best, most rewarding thing I’ve done in my life.”
The pro-Trump congressman also wrote that Nestor had just turned 19 and arrived when he was 12, adding that he was “triggered” by Richmond’s remarks because he knows what it’s like to “raise non-white kids.” Gaetz’s sudden announcement that he had a grown son, meanwhile, raised quite a few questions, especially considering he had never publicly disclosed this before Thursday.
At the same time he appeared on Carlson’s show, People published a report providing details on Gaetz’s relationship to Galban. Gaetz admitted to People that he “did not formally adopt” Galban, stating that Galban moved in with him when he was 12 because Gaetz—then a state legislator—was dating Galban’s older sister.
“He is a part of my family story,” Gaetz told People, adding that Nestor “is my son in every conceivable way, and I can’t imagine loving him any more if he was my own flesh and blood.” He declined to tell the magazine what Nestor’s relationship was with his biological family at this time.
Carlson, meanwhile, introduced the pro-Trump congressman on his program by asking him how he feels about Richmond telling him “you are not allowed to participate in the conversation because of your skin color.”
Saying his Democratic colleague’s remarks were “offensive” because Richmond didn’t know anything about his experience, Gaetz went on to say that “Nestor is the light of my life” and that he “couldn’t imagine loving him anymore if he was my own flesh and blood.”
“I’ve raised him for the last six years, and he is the most remarkable young man,” he added. “I am proud of him, and I am honestly embarrassed of the United States Congress that we have resorted to criticizing each other based on our race and the race of our children and I wish that we could be more productive going forward.”
After Gaetz said Galban had been raised to “treat everyone equally,” Carlson wondered aloud if Galban had also learned those lessons in school, prompting Gaetz to reveal that Nestor was already mic’d up and ready to appear on-screen.
“What do you make of Cedric Richmond’s attacks? Did you see all of this?” Carlson asked Galban.
“I did not see it because I was sleeping from my workout the night before,” Nestor replied, adding that he woke up to the tweets on the altercation and Gaetz calling him about it.
“I think it’s unfair to tell someone that they don’t understand because they don’t have—because of their racial color,” he added. “While he is fighting for equality but if you tell someone to not get involved—he doesn’t understand because of the color—you are being a hypocrite there.”
The Fox host applauded Galban’s answer before snarkily noting that this is now something “you would be censured for,” something Gaetz agreed with.
“I cannot believe that it’s acceptable in the United States Congress for someone to tell someone else that they are fighting for their children more than they are. You have a son,” Gaetz said. “How would you feel if someone said to you that they were fighting for your own family more than you were? That’s why I got very upset.”