Missouri Senate Majority Leader Caleb Rowden said Monday he had contacted law enforcement about Republican US Senate candidate Eric Greitens’ unhinged campaign ad showing him brandishing a gun while “hunting RINOs,” or Republicans in name only.
“We have been in contact with the Missouri Highway Patrol and hope that former Gov Greitens finds the help he needs,” Rowden tweeted Monday. “Anyone with multiple accusations of abuse toward women and children should probably steer clear of this rhetoric.”
Greitens resigned as Missouri governor in 2018 after being indicted on an invasion of privacy charge for allegedly taking a compromising photo of his hairdresser mistress and threatening to blackmail her.
More recently, Greitens has been accused by his ex-wife, Sheena, of physically abusing her and one of their children during their marriage, which ended in 2020.
Court filings state that the Senate hopeful exhibited such “unstable and coercive behavior that steps were taken to limit his access to firearms.”
All the allegations against Greitens — which he has vehemently denied — landed back in the spotlight Monday, when his campaign released an ad showing him carrying a shotgun while flanked by a tactical unit standing outside a home on a residential street.
“I’m Eric Greitens, Navy SEAL, and today we’re going RINO hunting,” the 48-year-old said in the 38-second spot, which has since been flagged on Twitter, and removed from Facebook for violating the platform’s policies on “violence and incitement.”
In the video, Greitens whispers, “The RINO feeds on corruption and is marked by the stripes of cowardice,” referring to Republicans who have distanced themselves from former President Donald Trump.
The ad shows the heavily armed tactical team using a battering ram to bust through the front door and throwing what appear to be flash-bang grenades inside.
Greitens then enters an empty living room through the smoke and says: “Join the MAGA crew. Get a RINO hunting permit. There’s no bagging limit, no tagging limit and it doesn’t expire until we save our country.”
The ad has been widely criticized for its use of violent imagery and language in reference to GOP leaders and candidates seeking public office.
Republican state Sen. Dave Schatz, another US Senate candidate in the Aug. 2 Republican primary, called the ad “completely irresponsible.”
“That’s why I’m running. It’s time to restore sanity and reject this nonsense. Missouri deserves better,” Schatz said in a tweet.
Democratic Senate candidate Lucas Kunce tweeted that “terrorists, child abusers, and criminals” like Greitens “shouldn’t even be able to get a weapon.”
“Help me beat this guy in November, and I’ll keep our families safe from criminals like him,” Kunce said.
“I met Eric Greitens in 2015 when he was an entrepreneur before he ran for governor. He was charismatic with an undercurrent of narcissism and malignancy,” former Democratic presidential candidate and New York mayoral candidate Andrew Yang tweeted. “Summary: l’d support anyone running against him. That guy should be nowhere near DC or a position of authority.”
The Missouri Fraternal Order of Police, which has endorsed state Attorney General Eric Schmitt in the primary, denounced Greitens’ video, saying it shows that Greitens “does not possess the sound judgment necessary” to represent the state and that “he has learned nothing from the legal problems” that preceded his resignation as governor.
Meanwhile, Sheena Greitens’ lawyer told the Kansas City Star that she would “absolutely” use the new campaign video in the couple’s custody battle.
“This is over the line,” Helen Wade told the newspaper while indicating she would file court papers to enter the campaign video into evidence.
Greitens’ campaign dismissed the bipartisan backlash over the ad.
“If anyone doesn’t get the metaphor, they are either lying or dumb,” campaign manager Dylan Johnson said in statement.
Greitens is in a crowded field of candidates vying to fill the seat being vacated by retiring GOP Sen. Roy Blunt.
With Post wires