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The new Twitter account @DeSantisJet tracks the Florida governor's air travel

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis speaks May 13 during a fundraising picnic for U.S. Rep. Randy Feenstra, R-Iowa, in Sioux Center, Iowa.
Charlie Neibergall
Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis speaks May 13 during a fundraising picnic for U.S. Rep. Randy Feenstra, R-Iowa, in Sioux Center, Iowa.

A new Twitter account is tracking the state government jet used by Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis — and providing updates after the plane lands.

Jack Sweeney, the 20-year-old who created the popular Twitter page tracking billionaire Elon Musk's private jet, recently debuted the new account following the Florida governor.

Sweeney told NPR that he doesn't have a specific goal in mind for @DeSantisJet other than to "share the information and make it available to everybody that might be interested."

He said he had been intending to create an account following Florida's government jet and eventually got around to it, given the buzz around the expected Republican presidential hopeful.

"It was on my list to do, and with all the things going on, I thought it would be good to bring transparency there to everybody and bring my abilities for everyone else to see where the jet is going," Sweeney said.

Neither the Florida governor's office nor a DeSantis political spokesperson replied to a request for comment.

It's not uncommon for governors — especially those in large states — to take government-owned planes or helicopters on official business. But DeSantis has been criticized for how he's used taxpayer-funded aircraft in the past.

The nonprofit watchdog Integrity Florida said recently that the governor was traveling on a state plane to attend events that resembled campaign rallies, the Orlando Sentinel reported. The group's research director, Ben Wilcox, accused DeSantis of "really blurring the lines between what is considered campaign activity and his public duties of the office," a charge the governor's office denied.

The Twitter account notes that tracked flights "do not guarantee that DeSantis is onboard." Sweeney, an information technology major at the University of Central Florida, said he may also try to track any flights DeSantis takes on the private planes of his political donors.

In December, the account Sweeney created to track Musk's jet was was suspended after Musk bought Twitter and said the account posed a personal safety risk.

A version of the account is back up but provides tracking information on Musk's jet with a 24-hour delay. The page following DeSantis's jet is also delayed by one day.

Sweeney also posts flight tracking information for certain jets he follows on other social media platforms, such as Instagram and Facebook.

Copyright 2023 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Joe Hernandez
[Copyright 2024 NPR]