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It's on: Matt Gaetz to debate Dream Defenders director

It’s on.

In a flurry of Tweets on Sunday and Monday, Rep. Matt Gaetz agreed to a televised debate with Dream Defenders Director Phillip Agnew.

The topic: Florida's controversial Stand Your Ground law.

Agnew said he challenged Gaetz to a verbal duel late Sunday after spotting news reports that Gaetz wouldn't support changing “one damn comma” in the self-defense law. Gaetz has been tapped by House Speaker Will Weatherford to hold a hearing on Stand Your Ground this fall.

Agnew’s Tweet to Gaetz: @mattgaetz tv debate on #standyourground? I’m in the Capitol.

The reply from the Fort Walton Beach Republican: Looking forward to it. But please keep naked ppl out of the Capitol Chapel til then.

Gaetz was referencing a Capitol Police report that some of Agnew’s Dream Defenders been sleeping in the chapel half dressed. The group has been protesting around the clock for nearly three weeks in hopes of persuading Gov. Rick Scott to hold a special session on Stand Your Ground. Scott has refused.

As for the debate, Agnew said early Monday that the details hadn't been finalized.

The two should be a good match. Agnew, a 28-year-old community organizer, has already proven his oratory chops while delivering speeches on the Capitol steps. And Gaetz, 31, is considered one of the best debaters in the Florida House.

Gaetz was boarding a flight Monday afternoon and couldn’t comment immediately. 

But Agnew said he wasn’t intimidated.

“Oration is only half of the battle,” Agnew said. “At the end of the day, most people will see that this law either needs more work or it needs to go.”

Agnew wrote on Twitter that he was already assembling a team of advisers, and Tweeted the message at Sen. Dwight Bullard, Sen. Chris Smith and Rep. Alan Williams.


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M Gaetz is going to obliterate this guy. it helps he has the facts on his side

Ed Jenkins

These vagrants need to be removed from buildings that belong to us taxpayers and find housing elsewhere. If they will not leave voluntarily I would suggest fumigating the buildings or gassing them out. We cannot provide shelter to these vagrants who desecrate public property, beg for food on it and indecently expose themselves there.

Can't take anymore

Expect Gaetz Jr. to emphasize decibels and rhetoric instead of a calm discussion of who is harmed and who is helped by Florida's SYG laws. He has all the resources of the RPOF, national GOP, the NRA and the Teanag Party. Agnew will have only reason, honesty and sanity on his side of the debate. In today's toxic political environment Agnew probably has no chance to prevail.


@Ed: one day you'll become an America.


I am very proud of the Dream Defenders! No justice No Sleep!No SYG! YES TRAYVON'S LAW!!!!


As long as either of them gets called out when they lie, it will be a land-slide for the lawyer.


Gaetz is a joke.

Ed Jenkins

A fumigation or gassing out strategy seems like an effective way to evict these rodents and vagrants from our public property which they are desecrating, using as housing in an unauthorized way and exposing themselves indecently offending the public in general.

I heard a rumor

Is it true that Matt Gaetz is or was a big stoner?

I heard a rumor

Agnew, a 28-year-old community organizer

Otherwise known as unemployed...

Anita Stewart

Phillip Agnew is an educated, degreed young man with a wide open future. A great community organizer. Those that are in the capitol building are for the most part students and organizers from many different groups. And the STATE HOUSE belongs to ALL Florida citizens.


Trust fund baby Goetz raised in the Republican bubble that had one Florida House guy say " they want this" about those on death row for killing prisoners in 7 years. So one who parrots the 30 years of The republican 4 sentences versus well gees- just about anybody. He will, of course, play the victim that his lil ole bill had nothing to do with letting a killer walk free and he will blame the prosecutor. Like most Republicans he already has a hundred excuses up his sleeve. Daddy's little boy will hide under coattails so he will cry all the way back- to his ALEC paycheck. Although having Florida pay for him to go to Chicago today to get it just adds salt to taxpayer's wounds.


No doubt these idiots will try to invent statistics that simply do not exist. Suggest at any statistic Matt simply say; Prove It. I have faced similar liberals in debate before and 100% of the time they start creating support for their points where no such numbers exist. Here is another report in a rag of a newspaper that two jurors blamed the law, when in fact the law was not brought up in the trial. It was a trial of self defense or not. Zimmerman was found to have acted in self defense. Suggest the reporters watch the actual trial and the evidence presented rather than invent what never was part of the trial at all.

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