June 22, 2022
Eric Greitens, the embattled former Missouri governor-turned-GOP Senate candidate, released a campaign ad on Monday, June 20 in which he and a group of armed men dressed in tactical gear burst into a home, supposedly hunting for RINOs (Republicans In Name Only), reports NBC News.
“We’re going RINO hunting,” a shotgun-toting Greitens, with a handgun holstered at his side, says before he bursts into a house with the men in tactical gear—one of whom throws what appears to be a flash-bang grenade.
“Get a RINO hunting permit. There’s no bagging limit, no tagging limit, and it doesn’t expire until we save our country,” he says at the end of the video, which encourages donors to pay $25 for a “RINO hunting” sticker.
Earlier in the video, Greitens, who resigned as governor in 2018 amid a sexual misconduct scandal and a campaign finance felony charge that was later dropped, says, “The RINO feeds on corruption and is marked by the stripes of cowardice.”
The video was posted on Greitens’ YouTube page, and he tweeted out a link to the ad. Hours after the tweet, Twitter put it behind a warning that said it “violated the Twitter Rules of abusive behavior” but that the site had “determined that it may be in the public’s interest for the Tweet to remain accessible.”
A spokesperson for Facebook owner Meta said, “We removed this video for violating our policies prohibiting violence and incitement.”
David Lapan, a retired Marine colonel and former Defense Department and Department of Homeland Security spokesperson, tweeted that Greitens, a former Navy SEAL, “has dishonored himself, his oath, and the Navy.”
“This clear call for violence against his political opponents, using military images, is depraved & dangerous,” he said.
“He is unfit for elected office & should be held accountable,” Lapan said.
The Missouri Democratic Party tweeted that the ad was “Disgusting. But not surprising.” It said it was another example of “violence, irresponsibility and reckless behavior from Greitens.”
Greitens’ campaign manager Dylan Johnson responded to the backlash by saying, “The response from America First voters to our groundbreaking ad has been overwhelming and supportive. Those who have an issue with the video and the metaphor are either lying or dumb. We believe Big Tech and its oligarchs are both.”
Research contact: @NBCNews