Nestor Galban is the young college student Congressman Matt Gaetz describes as his son, although Gaetz never formally adopted him.
Galban moved to the United States from Cuba when he was 12 to live with his older sister, who was dating Gaetz at the time, according to People. The two formed a bond and Galban told the magazine Gaetz “raised me as his own son.”
Here’s what you need to know:
1. Galban Moved From Cuba After His Mother Died From Breast Cancer & Became a U.S. Citizen in 2020
Galban was raised in Cuba by his mother. She passed away from breast cancer when Galban was 12, People reported. He moved to the United States to live with his older sister, who was dating and living with Gaetz at the time.
Gaetz confirmed to the magazine he never formally adopted Galban. But he said he grew to love Galban as a son and dismissed any criticism about it. “Our relationship as a family is defined by our love for each other, not by any paperwork,” Gaetz told People. “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.” Gaetz shared on social media that Galban became a U.S. citizen in September 2020.
Gaetz and Galban’s relationship became public knowledge in June 2020 as House lawmakers debated a policing reform measure. During a heated exchange in a House Judiciary Committee meeting, Rep. Cedric L. Richmond commented that white lawmakers couldn’t understand the fears parents of Black children faced. Gaetz responded by asking Richmond whether he was “certain that none of us have nonwhite children?”
As the Washington Post reported, Richmond countered, “It is not about the color of your kids. It is about black males, 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 shouted back, “You’re claiming you have more concern for my family than I do? Who in the hell do you think you are?”
Gaetz tweeted a selfie alongside Galban the following day. He wrote, “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. I am so proud of him and raising him has been the best, most rewarding thing I’ve done in my life.” Gaetz followed in a second tweet, “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.” Gaetz and Galban also appeared on Tucker Carlson’s Fox News program that day.
2. Galban Explained the Years of Secrecy by Sharing He Had ‘Wanted to Have a Normal Life’
Gaetz has been in the public eye since at least 2010. He served in the Florida House of Representatives for six years before he was elected to Congress in 2016, as noted on his website. But he says he chose to keep his father-son relationship with Galban out of the spotlight to protect the teen’s privacy.
Gaetz told People, “Just imagine: You’re 12 years old, your mom has just died, you’re learning English as you’re trying to get your footing in school. It just wasn’t the right time in middle school and high school to subject him to politics.”
But Gaetz pushed back on the idea that he had somehow been trying to “hide” Galban. Gaetz told the magazine that family members, friends, church members and other parents at Galban’s school knew Gaetz was raising Galban as his son.
Galban himself confirmed in a June 2020 tweet that he hadn’t wanted the attention. In a response to another Twitter user who asked why the relationship was kept secret for several years, Galban responded, “I wanted as a secret before because I wanted to have a normal life without any of y’all getting in it. But now I’m 19 and I old enough to handle it.”
Galban defended Gaetz after another Twitter user insinuated Galban was in danger by writing that Galban should “blink twice if you need a rescue.” Galban responded, “Matt is the best dad/mentor anyone could ever ask for, he has taught me a lot, and I’m thankful to have him in my life.”
The normal life Galban wanted included a dog. He and Gaetz adopted a dog named Stella, as Gaetz shared on Twitter.
3. Galban Lived With His Biological Father in Miami During His Junior Year of High School & Played Soccer
Gaetz’s romantic relationship with Galban’s older sister eventually ended. But Galban continued to live with Gaetz after the break-up, Gaetz told People.
Galban’s biological father was still alive during this time frame. Gaetz told the magazine Galban lived with his biological father in Miami during his junior year of high school.
During the in-depth interview with People, Gaetz had described Galban as a “star soccer player.” Galban appears to have played on his school’s soccer team while he was living in southern Florida.
According to Max Preps, a Nestor Galban was listed on the roster for Mater Academy Charter in Hialeah Gardens during the 2018-2019 school year, which was Galban’s junior year. He graduated from high school in 2020, People reported. Erin Gaetz posted photos from his graduation on Twitter but those tweets have since been deleted.
Based on Galban’s Instagram account, he may have returned to northwestern Florida for his senior year of high school. He tagged his location as Destin, Florida, in Homecoming pictures in September 2019. Destin is located a few miles away from Fort Walton Beach, where Gaetz is from.
4. Galban Planned to Study Nursing at Troy University in Alabama
Galban is a student at Troy University, according to his Instagram account. He told People in June 2020 he planned to study nursing because he enjoys “helping people and I think every day being able to save people’s lives and being able to heal people and take care of them makes me happy.”
Galban’s college experience was altered due to the coronavirus pandemic. Gaetz brought up that point during an appearance on Fox News on March 22. Clips posted on social media showed Gaetz explaining, “My son is a college freshman. He had no real graduation, no prom, and I struggled with whether or not to allow him to enjoy spring break at Panama City beach. I allowed him to have an abbreviated one.”
According to Business Insider, Gaetz added, “I did not have a good night’s rest the entire time he was there until I knew he was safe, OK, and back at school.”
5. Galban Served as a Florida House Page as a Young Student
Galban served as a page in the Florida House of Representatives as a young student. He was identified as a House Page in a May 2014 newsletter from the Florida attorney general’s office. Galban was pictured next to Gaetz and the caption mentioned they had met with AG Pam Bondi and her dog, Luke.
Gaetz posted on social media about Galban being a House page but did not identify Galban as his son at the time. Gaetz shared a picture in March 2016 to his public Facebook page alongside Galban and another student at the House chamber. Gaetz referred to both of them as “local students” and “fantastic House pages!”
As the Orlando Weekly reported, Gaetz also referred to Galban as his “helper” during a video shared on social media in December 2017. Gaetz appeared to stumble as he introduced Galban and may have been about to say “son” before switching to “helper.”
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