On Twitter last night, Rebekah Jones confirmed the central case within my long piece on her deception: That she was not, in fact, asked to delete COVID deaths in the state of Florida. In a now-deleted tweet, Jones wrote: “Deleting deaths was never something I was asked to do. I’ve never claimed it was.”
But Jones has claimed it. Indeed, she’s literally claimed it, as this also-deleted tweet clearly shows:
This claim — that Florida’s deputy secretary of health, Dr. Shamarial Roberson, told her “to delete cases and deaths” — is at the heart of her case. That she now insists that she never made it is extraordinary.
Jones has made the claim that she was instructed to edit the raw data over and over again. In February, she reiterated that “Roberson asked me to change numbers and delete records to present a rosier picture of Florida’s pandemic than reality.” In April, she repeated her claim that “Roberson asked me to go into the raw data and manually alter figures.”
This week, though, Jones inadvertently confirmed that she did not, in fact, have the ability to do that. As part of the 10,000 word screed Jones wrote after my piece was published, she linked to a snippet of code that shows clearly that her dashboard did not interact directly with the state’s database, but instead utilized Excel files that other people at the Florida Department of Health had put on a network drive.
Or, put another way: Jones confirmed this week that she has been lying about the role she played in the department. And, once she’d done that, there was nothing that she could do except to back off her main claim. No direct access to the database means no ability to delete data from the database. No ability to delete data from the database means no claim that she was asked to delete data from the database. No claim that she was asked to delete data from the database means no scandal.