In Florida politics, Rep. Matt Gaetz is not only known for getting into bitter arguments with Democrats — he is also known for his feuds with fellow Republicans. And this week, things turned ugly after Gaetz attacked Republican State Rep. Chris Latvala for tweeting a photo of him meeting with the Rev. Al Sharpton.
Monday on Twitter, Latvala wrote, “It was an honor to meet @TheRevAl today.” And when Gaetz (who serves in the U.S. House of Representatives via Florida’s 1st Congressional District) saw the tweet and the photo of Latvala with Sharpton — who hosts “Politics Nation” on MSNBC — the 37-year-old far-right Republican responded, “Sharpton has called Cops ‘pigs;’ Whites ‘interlopers;’ Greeks ‘homos’ and Jews ‘diamond merchants. So that is pretty disgusting.”
It was an honor to meet @TheRevAl today. #FlaPol https://t.co/ecL4Y6asKO— Chris Latvala (@Chris Latvala) 1578955582.0
Sharpton has called Cops “pigs” Whites “interlopers” Greeks “homos” and Jews “diamond merchants” So that is prett… https://t.co/ctdtzcMusI— Matt Gaetz (@Matt Gaetz) 1578972138.0
Latvala (the 38-year-old son of former Florida State Sen. Jack Latvala, now 68) responded by accusing Gaetz of inventing a sleazy game for Florida legislators that included a sexual scoring system. In 2013, Politico’s Marc Caputo reported that according to the rules of the alleged game, legislators received one point for sleeping with a lobbyist, two points for sleeping with legislative staff, three points for sleeping with another legislator and six points for sleeping with a married legislator.
And you created a game where members of the FL House got "points" for sleeping with aides, interns, lobbyists, and… https://t.co/BQ0C1CZkF1— Chris Latvala (@Chris Latvala) 1578972729.0
Hey ladies! Source: young male FL Reps have point-system contest for having sex: 1=lobbyist 2=staff 3=other legislator 6=married legislator— Marc Caputo (@Marc Caputo) 1367514572.0
Gaetz responded by telling the Tampa Bay Times that he “had no idea what Chris was talking about” and attacking Jack Latvala. Gaetz told the Tampa Bay Times, “I know Jack Latvala (had) to resign in disgrace over demanding sexual favors from lobbyists in exchange for appropriations. So, it was likely Chris projecting. I don’t start conversations with people on Twitter about their sex lives, especially Latvalas.”
Jack Latvala resigned from the Florida State Senate in December 2017.
On Twitter, Gaetz told Chris Latvala, “Just because I own you on Twitter, don’t confuse me for your daddy when it comes to abusing power for sex. Also, I missed the defense of Sharpton in your reply.”
@ChrisLatvala I spent my day talking to my friend & supporter, the President. You spent yours with Al Sharpton.— Matt Gaetz (@Matt Gaetz) 1578973623.0
@ChrisLatvala Just because I own you on twitter, don’t confuse me for your daddy when it comes to abusing power for… https://t.co/zqh3gEFnm2— Matt Gaetz (@Matt Gaetz) 1578973139.0
@mattgaetz yep. I'm not afraid to meet with folks with differing opinions than mine. Hence why I posted the picture on Twitter....— Chris Latvala (@Chris Latvala) 1578973937.0
Chris Latvala then brought up Gaetz’ arrest in 2008 in Okaloosa County, Florida for allegedly driving under the influence; that case was later dropped. The Florida representative tweeted, “Have you been drinking tonight? I hope you don’t get behind the wheel. I know you have had a rough few days up there.”
Before entering the U.S. House of Representatives in January 2017, Gaetz served in the Florida House of Representatives from 2010-2016.