Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-Fla.) is facing backlash over a Facebook post comparing the popularity of his re-election campaign events with those of his opponents.
Rebekah Jones is running against Gaetz and said that one of Gaetz’s recent posts included a photo of her autistic son with his face down on a table, using it to compare the enthusiasm levels of the two candidates. Jones said the photo wasn’t even from an event of hers, but rather a health expo she attended.
And the photo wasn’t of some downtrodden Jones’ supporter, but rather her autistic son.
“I took my son with me today, my 12-year old autistic son, to help me man a booth at [a] health expo… and Matt Gaetz apparently had someone take pictures, and posted it, mocking him on Facebook,” Jones said, adding “You don’t fuck with my kids.”
On her website, Jones previously wrote about her son’s autism and how she will campaign for better disability rights in education.
Jones called it “creepy and disgusting” and brought up Gaetz’s own current accusations of sexual assault and trafficking against minors, saying he “should really stay away from that one. Let’s show him how we treat pedophiles.”
Gaetz is currently under investigation by the Department of Justice for potentially paying for sex with women under the age of 18 and taking them across state lines for sex.
In the comments of Gaetz’s Facebook post, numerous people responded, calling him out as well.
“That’s her underage son you Creep,” wrote one user.
Jones is challenging Gaetz after she became an internet sensation for her feud with Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R). Jones was fired from her job as a data scientist during the COVID-19 pandemic. She repeatedly accused DeSantis of fudging the numbers to make Florida look better than the rest of the nation.
At one point her house was raided by Florida police serving a search warrant. In the face of her public campaign, DeSantis and his supporters have painted Jones as a disgruntled employee who didn’t have access to the kind of data she claimed showed malfeasance by his administration.
In a statement to the Daily Dot, Gaetz’s campaign did not address the accusations from Jones or questions about it, but said that she faces “virtually certain losses in the November election and in her January criminal trial [for her illegally possessing material from her former job]. To avoid disinformation, we mostly ignore her.”
This piece has been updated with a comment from Gaetz’s campaign.
Correction: This story’s headline originally used an incorrect last name for Rebekah Jones.