Rebekah Jones, pictured in her office at the Florida Department of Health, was a COVID-19 data compiler who claims she was fired last May. She announced her bid for the US House of Representatives on Tuesday
A former Florida Health Department official who was fired for allegedly conducting a disinformation campaign about the state’s COVID-19 response has attempted to remove Matt Gaetz from the US House of Representatives.
Rebekah Jones – an outspoken critic of Florida Governor Ron DeSantis, who is a close ally of Donald Trump and Gaetz – announced her candidacy on Twitter statement via WPTV reporter Forrest Saunders.
Jones was unable to tweet the announcement himself because Twitter banned her on Monday for violating the sites’ “rules against platform manipulation and spam.”
Saunders tweeted that Jones said the suspension was due to her “overzealous” sharing of a recent @MiamiHerald article and expected her account to be bounced shortly.
It didn’t take long for DeSantis to pick up a victory lap.
His spokesperson, Christina Pushaw, tweeted Monday: ‘Rebekah Jones was NOT ‘censored’ by Twitter for anything she posted.
“She was suspended for violating a clear rule against buying followers (platform manipulation) and – all the evidence points to this – hijacking the accounts of unsuspecting users to get them to follow her.”
This has reportedly accelerated Jones’ announcement timeline. Instead of waiting another month, she said she was hiring Gaetz Tuesday.
“I didn’t mean to announce it this way, but since DeSantis is now taking credit for my suspension for sharing an article proving he’s a sociopathic liar, it seems like I should say it this way,” Jones wrote. reported via a screenshot that reports Saunders.
“I’m running for Matt Gaetz’s seat next year,” she said. ‘No more sex traffickers in Congress!’
Gaetz, a controversial Republican congressman who represents Florida, has made a name for himself as a strong defender of former President Donald Trump (pictured together)
Jones announced her candidacy in a Twitter statement via WPTV reporter Forrest Saunders – after her own Twitter account was suspended
It didn’t take long for DeSantis to pick up a victory lap. His spokesperson, Christina Pushaw, tweeted Monday: ‘Rebekah Jones was NOT ‘censored’ by Twitter for anything she posted
Jones referred to a Justice Department investigation investigating allegations that Gaetz paid for sex with a 17-year-old girl.
The age of majority in Florida – where the meeting is said to have taken place – is 18 years. He denies the allegations.
Jones – a self-proclaimed whistleblower – has been embroiled in her own legal entanglements since she was fired from her state job last May.
Before launching from her position as a health department data scientist, early in the pandemic, she was credited with leading a team in the creation of Florida’s COVID-19 dashboard.
Jones claimed she was fired for refusing to manipulate the state’s infection rates, but DeSantis has said she was fired for “insubordination.”
Jared Moskowitz, chief of emergency management in Florida, said: Politics in a story published Friday that she was leaking information and running a “disinformation” campaign against the state’s COVID-19 response.
Rebekah Jones, who was a COVID-19 data compiler for the state of Florida before being fired last May, plans to take on Republican US Representative Matt Gaetz
“With a platform of 400,000 Twitter followers, her reputation for bullying people on social media, and her running a disinformation campaign that the national media emulated, she was more dangerous as an enemy than as a friend,” Moskowitz told Politico.
Jones was then arrested in December following a widely publicized search of her home after she was charged with hacking into a state-run computer network and ultimately charged with illegally accessing a computer system, a felony.
That case is still pending.
She was also fired from Florida State University in 2017 when she was a PhD student and instructor for having an affair with her student. She was accused of cyberstalking her student Garrett Sweeterman, then 21, three times in July 2019.
Jones sued her ex-boyfriend in civil court in June 2019, accusing him of intentionally inflicting emotional distress, sexual assault, domestic violence, emotional abuse and defamation. She left the lawsuit weeks later.
Jones said the 68 pages she was accused of publishing online were excerpts from a longer, 342-page collection of essays she wrote about her relationship with her ex-boyfriend. Those documents were filed with the court as part of her civil lawsuit.