Rep. Matt Gaetz, R-Fla., surprised social media users Thursday by revealing he has a Cuban son after a fiery exchange with Rep. Cedric Richmond, D-La., a day earlier where Gaetz accused Richmond of suggesting Republicans do not know what it’s like to worry about raising a non-white child.

“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 wrote on Twitter. “I am so proud of him and raising him has been the best, most rewarding thing I’ve done in my life.”

Gaetz added that Nestor had come to the U.S. when he was 12, and was now 19 and soon to head off to college.

“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,” Gaetz continued. “Well, I have.”

During the argument over the House police reform bill, Richmond said he was “angry as hell” at his Republican colleagues who “keep introducing amendments that are a tangent and a distraction” and asking them to not “make a mockery of the pain that exists in my community.”


He said those on the other side of the aisle were not understanding the “crisis” because of “unconscious bias” or even “at worst, it is conscious bias.”

“As a black male who went to a 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. To my colleagues, especially the ones that keep introducing amendments that are a tangent and a distraction from what we're talking about, you all are white males,” Richmond continued.

“You never lived in my shoes. And you do not know what it's like to be an African-American male. And all I'm saying is, if you are opposed to this legislation, let's just have the vote, but please do not come in this committee room and make a mockery of the pain that exists in my community,” Richmond continued.

Gaetz cut in to question: “I appreciate your passion. Are you suggesting that you're certain that none of us have non-white children? Because you reflect on your black son and said none of us…”

Richmond shot back: "Matt, Matt, stop. I'm not about to get sidetracked about the color of our children.”

The Democrat continued: "I already know that there are people on the other side that have black grandchildren. It is not about the color of your kids. It is about black males, black people in the streets that are getting killed.”

The two lawmakers continued to talk over one another with Gaetz questioning if Richmond knew the color of every lawmaker's children and suggesting that the Louisiana Democrat believes he is more concerned about his family than Republicans are about theirs.

“You're claiming you're more concerned for my family than I do. Who in the hell do you think you are?" Gaetz said. “That is outrageous. You should take those words down. I know you care about your family and love your family, so do we dammit!”


Soon after, Gaetz's sister Erin tweeted out numerous photos of her brother with his son after some doubted the closeness of their relationship.

PEOPLE reports that Gaetz did not formally adopt Nestor, with the congressman telling the magazine: “Our relationship as a family is defined by our love for each other, not by any paperwork.”