Ron DeSantis
Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) defended his administration's response to the coronavirus pandemic Wednesday and disputed allegations by a former state employee who claims she was fired after refusing to manipulate COVID-19 data.

Rebekah Jones, a data expert at the Florida Department of Health, wrote last week in an email that she was being removed from oversight of the state's COVID-19 dashboard and warned "I would not expect the new team to continue the same level of accessibility and transparency that I made central to the process during the first two months."

"[S]he's somebody that's got a degree in journalism communication and geography. She is not involved in collating any data, she does not have the expertise to do that," DeSantis said Tuesday after Vice President Pence was asked about the case.

"She is not an epidemiologist, she is not the chief architect of our web portal, that is another false statement, and what she was doing was she was putting data on the portal, which the scientists didn't believe was valid data," the Florida governor added. "So she didn't listen to the people who were her superiors, she had many people above her in the chain of command and so said she was dismissed because of that."

DeSantis went on to claim Jones had an active warrant for "cyber stalking and cyber sexual harassment." A West Palm Beach CBS affiliate reported that in 2019 a man accused Jones of targeting him with "revenge porn."

The Florida governor had previously said that Jones sent a note to her supervisor saying her initial email had been misinterpreted, according to the Sarasota Herald-Tribune.

"I said they've got a team working on it now and what I meant when I said don't expect the same level of accessibility is that they are busy and can't answer every single email they get right away and that it was ridiculous that I managed to do it in the first place and that I was tired and needed a break from working two months straight," she reportedly wrote.

However, Jones told the CBS affiliate that she had been pressured by supervisors to "manually change data to drum up support for the plan to reopen."

DeSantis on Wednesday said Florida was being transparent with its data.

"So any insinuation otherwise is just typical partisan narrative trying to be spun," he said. "And part of the reason is that because you got a lot of people in your profession, who wax poetically for weeks and weeks about how Florida was gonna be just like New York, wait two weeks Florida's gonna be next. Just like Italy wait two weeks. Well hell, we're eight weeks away from that and it hasn't happened."