I have started this column at least three times but I feel like you should know this before I begin. The Root doesn’t wade in the kiddie pool. We have no problem destroying your least favorites and your favorites, but like the mafia, we have rules. We don’t go after kids, ever. So we kicked around the idea of talking about Matt Gaetz’s son “Nestor” for several reasons, the first of which is Mike Brown.
When Mike Brown was gunned down by an asshole cop in Ferguson, Mo., many publications insisted on calling the 18-year-old kid a man. We know that age thing is tricky. Technically Brown was old enough to go to war but still too young to buy alcohol. He was at that age where the world is looking for him to make some milestones even if he doesn’t know what they are. So does being 18 make you a man? Who knows. But if Mike Brown was old enough to be called a man, even in his Wikipedia bio, then Nestor Galban, who is 19-years-old is old enough to be considered a man for this story.
He’s also not Matt Gaetz’s son, which is a bit confusing, I know, but let’s just get into it.
A few weeks ago, Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-Fla.) got into with Rep. Cedric Richmond (D-La.), during a hearing on police reform in the wake of George Floyd’s death while in Minneapolis police custody. Richmond, who is Black, was making a point that as a Black man with a Black son, police brutality is something that worries him often. Gaetz then asked to speak and asked Richmond if he was implying that none of the members on the panel had non-white children. Richmond asked for Gaetz not to make this moment about him and his bullshit. The whole thing then when off the rails. The soundbite from the moment was Richmond asking an irate Gaetz, “Did I hit a nerve?” If you’ve not seen it, I suggest you watch it below.
In the video, it appeared that Gaetz was being his normal asshole self and grandstanding during an emotional moment, and he was, because Gaetz is a single man, with no partner, and no children...that we know of.
The next day, Gaetz made a bold statement on Twitter.
And then he took his “son” on Tucker Carlson’s Fox News show in which he claimed he raised Nestor Galban since he was 12 years old. The story as we know it is that Gaetz was dating Nestor’s sister when their mother died. Gaetz and the sister’s relationship ended and Gaetz continued to have a relationship with the boy. Gaetz has posted videos and photos of him and Nestor before but never referred to him as his son until the beef with Richmond. He has, however, referred to Nestor as a “local student” or “House Representative page.”
From Business Insider:
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!”
In 2017, he referred to Nestor as a “helper.”
On Gaetz’s Hot Takes podcast he noted: “I sort of feel like a single step-parent at times” and that “I do feel a special kinship with step-parents all over. You know, there’s a certain kind of love that you can give to another human being, you know, that is not your own flesh and blood, that’s not your own kid. But you love ‘em as much as you would love anyone that was your own child. That you couldn’t imagine loving them anymore. I don’t have any biological children, but I absolutely have a son.”
Nestor has a father. He is alive. His name is not Matt Gaetz. Nestor even lived with him for a time in Miami. Gaetz claims that Nestor lived with him since coming to Florida from Cuba (legally he adds) but then notes that after living with him, Nestor went to live with his actual father and then moved back with Gaetz when he turned 18.
Family dynamics can take all kinds of twists and turns and who are we to judge. But it does feel a bit like political theater that Gaetz drops this bombshell on America right around the time that a black man was arguing about the worries he has for his black son when it concerns police violence. It does feel like Nestor became a political pawn in a game of racial chess. I don’t know if Gaetz knows this or even cares but raising a Cuban in Florida is not the same as raising a black man anywhere else in America. I also don’t buy Gatez’s explanation that he was shielding Nestor from this political life all this time only to drop him in on Tucker Carlson’s show like “Surprise, meet my Cuban son who isn’t my son and he’s totally a grown man.”
Either way, we point all of this out because it’s news and we want to make sure we keep you informed of it all. Even if it’s completely puzzling and weird AF.