Matt Gaetz and Chris Latvala Twitter feud: politics, sex and daddy

State Rep. Chris Latvala and U.S. Rep. Matt Gaetz logged on yesterday.
U.S. Rep. Matt Gaetz and Florida Rep. Chris Latvala.
U.S. Rep. Matt Gaetz and Florida Rep. Chris Latvala. [ Times ]
Published Jan. 14, 2020|Updated Jan. 14, 2020

A Twitter spat between Matt Gaetz and Chris Latvala, two prominent Florida Republicans, turned nasty Monday night.

It all started with a tweet about Al Sharpton.

State Rep. Latvala, R-Clearwater, tweeted a picture from a meeting he had with the longtime civil rights activist and MSNBC host.

“It was an honor to meet @TheRevAl today,” Latvala tweeted.

Gaetz, a Republican U.S. Congressman who represents Fort Walton Beach, was not a fan of the tweet.

“Sharpton has called Cops ‘pigs;’ Whites ‘interlopers;’ Greeks ‘homos’ and Jews ‘diamond merchants,’” Gaetz tweeted in response. “So that is pretty disgusting.” (Side note: Gaetz provided a ticket to President Donald Trump’s 2018 State of the Union speech to a white nationalist.)

That’s when things got personal.

Latvala, the son of the once-powerful state Sen. Jack Latvala, fired back at Gaetz, accusing the congressman of creating a “game” that involved a sexual scoring system when Gaetz was a state representative.

In a text message, Latvala cited a 2013 tweet by Politico’s Marc Caputo, who was then at the Miami Herald, that explained the alleged game: legislators got one point for sleeping with a lobbyist; two points for sleeping with Legislative staff; three for another legislator; six for a married legislator.

Gaetz, in a Tuesday text to the Tampa Bay Times, said he had “no idea what Chris was talking about” before referencing Latvala’s father.

“I know Jack Latvala has to resign in disgrace over demanding sexual favors from lobbyists in exchange for appropriations, so it was likely Chris projecting,” Gaetz told the Times. “I don’t start conversations with people on Twitter about their sex lives. Especially Latvalas.”

Gaetz also referenced the sex and corruption scandal that resulted in the elder Latvala resigning from his state Senate seat in his online response to the younger Latvala.

Related story: Jack Latvala resigns from the Florida Senate

“Just because I own you on twitter, don’t confuse me for your daddy when it comes to abusing power for sex,” Gaetz tweeted. “Also, I missed the defense of Sharpton in your reply.”

Not to be outdone, Latvala then invoked Gaetz’ 2008 arrest in Okaloosa County for driving under the influence. (The case was later dropped; read more about that here.)

“Have you been drinking tonight? I hope you don’t get behind the wheel," Latvala tweeted. “I know you have had a rough few days up there.”

“I spent my day talking to my friend & supporter, the President. You spent yours with Al Sharpton,” Gaetz tweeted.

“Yep,” Latvala responded." “I’m not afraid to meet with folks with differing opinions than mine. Hence why I posted the picture on Twitter....”