Rebekah Jones defends strange claim that DeSantis spent CNN interview talking about her

Jones claimed DeSantis spent CNN interview talking about her, although her name was never mentioned

Ex-Florida health department employee Rebekah Jones, who became a left-wing media darling for her conspiratorial claims about Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, strangely claimed he spent an entire CNN interview talking about her and doubled down Thursday after a Twitter Community Note fact-checked her.

Jones tweeted an attack at DeSantis in response to the 2024 Republican presidential candidate's interview with CNN anchor Jake Tapper on Tuesday. 

"His first CNN appearance as a candidate for president and he spent his time... talking about me. Add this to the fraudulent campaign report listing my name on his payroll, and it's clear [DeSantis] is an unhinged psychopath," Jones wrote.


rebekah jones defends strange claim that desantis spent cnn interview talking about her

Ex-Florida health department employee Rebekah Jones, who spread false claims that she was pressured by Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis to bury data on COVID deaths in the state, was fact-checked by Twitter Tuesday.  ((LEFT) Reuters // (RIGHT) James Gilbert/Getty Images)

Twitter’s fact-checking service Community Notes corrected Jones’ tweet the same day. "The article linked never mentions Rebekah Jones. And the full interview is available, and he never mentions Rebekah Jones."

"I think she's hearing voices," one DeSantis supporter tweeted.

Jones linked to a Fox News Digital story about the interview, which did mention Jones, but only in the capacity of noting Tapper's past instances of discussing Jones' accusations against DeSantis. The interview itself did not delve into Jones, and DeSantis did not mention her either, according to transcripts.

Jones went on to defend her initial claim by saying, "DeSantis attacked the ‘media narrative’ around him prematurely reopening the state of Florida. Who was at the center of that? Oh yeah."

The media elevated Jones starting in 2020, portraying her as a defiant whistleblower speaking out against a corrupt Republican governor, and giving her favorable interviews on CNN and MSNBC. But a devastating report from National Review's Charles C. W. Cooke poked holes in her story, including the major revelation that she "did not have the ability to edit the raw data" in Florida's COVID database. A separate report from National Review also shed light on Jones' history of arrests and abusive behavior. 

A CBS News affiliate in West Palm Beach, Florida, reported in 2021 that Jones' claims were unsupported by evidence, and epidemiologists the outlet spoke to had seen nothing significant about Florida's publicly available COVID numbers. Nevertheless, she used the fame she won online to run for Congress, losing to Republican Matt Gaetz in a House race in 2022.

A liberal journalist even apologized to viewers for passing along Jones' past claims.

"The only person that should be held responsible for that is me," The Young Turks' Ana Kasparian said in April. 


rebekah jones defends strange claim that desantis spent cnn interview talking about her

Young Turks host Ana Kasparian corrected past reporting on Rebekah Jones, saying she "screwed up royally." (Young Turks/Screenshot )

"I'm the executive producer of the show and I screwed up royally," she added. "Part of the reason I screwed up is because I had all these biases, of course, against Ron DeSantis. And I don't really feel bad about that… but it becomes a problem that bias blinds you to what the facts of various stories happen to be. And I should have done my due diligence, I failed to do so, and by failing to do so, I feel like I misled the audience into thinking that Rebekah Jones was some sort of hero."

Jones thanked Fox News Digital for making her aware of the "false" community note about her claim.

rebekah jones defends strange claim that desantis spent cnn interview talking about her

Rebekah Jones in her office at the Florida Department of Health. Jones has been granted whistleblower status in her ongoing battle over COVID-19 data in Florida. (Courtesy Rebekah Jones/TNS/ABACAPRESS.COM - NO FILM, NO VIDEO, NO TV, NO DOCUMENTARY (Photo illustration/Reuters)

Fox News’ David Rutz and Joseph A. Wulfsohn contributed to this report.

Jeffrey Clark is an associate editor for Fox News Digital. He has previously served as a speechwriter for a cabinet secretary and as a Fulbright teacher in South Korea. Jeffrey graduated from the University of Iowa in 2019 with a degree in English and History. 

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Authored by Jeffrey Clark via FoxNews July 21st 2023