This is why GOP Rep. Matt Gaetz just claimed to be father to a 'nonwhite' son

Rep. Matt Gaetz protests
(Image credit: Kevin Dietsch-Pool/Getty Images)

Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-Fla.) announced Thursday that he has a "son," Nestor Galban, a 19-year-old Cuban immigrant. As late as July 2019, Gaetz's office said he was single with no children, so people were a little confused.

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Gaetz, 38, clarified to People on Thursday evening that he has not adopted Galban, but he said the teenager has essentially lived with him since Galban was 12 and newly arrived from Cuba. At the time, Gaetz was dating and living with Nestor's aunt. "He is a part of my family story," Gaetz said, and "my son in every conceivable way." Galban tweeted Thursday night that Gaetz is "the best dad/mentor anyone could ever ask for."

Gaetz has previously identified Galban in photos as a "local student" and his "helper." So why publicly upgrade his status now? On Wednesday evening, Gaetz got in a heated argument with Rep. Cedric Richmond (D-La.) about race, before Democrats advanced a historic police reform bill.

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Richmond said he's "a black male who went to the fifth-best public high school in the country, who was a victim of excessive force, who has a black son, who has worries that you all don't," and his white male colleagues who "keep introducing amendments that are a tangent and a distraction" have "never lived in my shoes, and you do not know what it's like to be an African American male." Gaetz cut in: "Are you suggesting that none of us have nonwhite children?"

Richmond said this isn't "about the color of your kids" but rather the "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."

Gaetz tweeted Thursday that he "was triggered when (to make an absurd debate point) a fellow congressman diminished the contributions of Republicans because we don't raise nonwhite kids." Meghan McCain replied: "My sister is from Bangladesh but that wouldn't give me any insight into what it's like to be Black in America."

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Peter Weber

Peter Weber is a senior editor at, and has handled the editorial night shift since the website launched in 2008. A graduate of Northwestern University, Peter has worked at Facts on File and The New York Times Magazine. He speaks Spanish and Italian and plays bass and rhythm cello in an Austin rock band. Follow him on Twitter.