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Gaetz in Twitter battle with Florida House Republican

Rep. Matt GaetzMatthew (Matt) GaetzCongressional antitrust report rips tech firms for stifling competition Loeffler tweets edited video showing Trump taking down coronavirus in wrestling match Why is Florida screaming about the pay-to-vote system it created? MORE (R-Fla.) exchanged insults with Florida state Rep. Chris Latvala (R) in a nasty Twitter feud earlier this week.

It began Monday shortly after Latvala tweeted a photo of himself meeting the Rev. Al Sharpton, a moment he described as “an honor.”

The photo was met with criticism from Gaetz hours later in a tweet that kicked off the feud between the two Republicans.

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“Sharpton has called cops ‘pigs,’ whites ‘interlopers,’ Greeks ‘homos’ and Jews ‘diamond merchants.’ So that is pretty disgusting,” Gaetz tweeted.

Less than an hour later, Latvala responded with a knock of his own that immediately escalated the feud. 

“And you created a game where members of the FL House got ‘points’ for sleeping with aides, interns, lobbyists, and married legislators. Hope DC is treating you well, Comgressman,” he wrote.

Latvala’s accusation, which Gaetz denied in a statement to the Tampa Bay Times on Tuesday, references a game that was alleged to have been played in the Florida House of Representatives years back. 

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Marc Caputo, who currently reports for Politico, tweeted about how the alleged game was played in 2013, when he was working for the Miami Herald. 

Gaetz, who served in the Florida House of Representatives before being elected to Congress in 2016, told the Times that he had “no idea what Chris was talking about” on Tuesday. 

“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,” he continued. “I don’t start conversations with people on Twitter about their sex lives. Especially Latvalas.”

According to the South Florida Sun-Sentinel, there is a history of bad blood between Gaetz’s and Latvala’s families in Florida.

Gaetz responded to Latvala’s accusation on Twitter later Tuesday night, tweeting at the time, “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,” he added.

According to the Times, Latvala’s father, former state Rep. Jack Latvala (R-Fla.), resigned from his seat in 2017 after allegations of sexual harassment that were brought against him. 

Latvala shot back at Gaetz on the same night on Twitter, writing, “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,” he added, appearing to refer to Gaetz’s DUI arrest in 2008.

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

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

Gaetz and Latvala did not immediately respond to requests for comment from The Hill.