A new video for Missouri Republican Eric Greitens’ Senate campaign sparked backlash Monday when the candidate encouraged his supporters to go “RINO hunting” — a reference to "Republicans in name only."
In a 38-second video released on Twitter, Greitens identifies himself as a Navy SEAL and breaks into a house during a “RINO hunting” mission.
Greitens can be seen holding a long shotgun throughout the video and is flanked by men wearing U.S. armed forces camouflage uniforms.
“The RINO feeds on corruption and is marked by the stripes of cowardice,” the Senate hopeful says standing in front of the house, before his team busts the door in.
He urged his supporters to join the “MAGA crew” and get a “RINO hunting permit” after his team threw a flash grenade into the house and ran inside.
“There’s no bagging limit, no tagging limit, and it doesn’t expire until we save our country,” Greitens says.
On Monday, he shared the video with the caption, “We are sick and tired of the Republicans in Name Only surrendering to Joe Biden & the radical Left.”
Billing himself as a conservative and an outsider, Greitens was quickly denounced on social media for the campaign ad.
The Hill reports that Rep. Ruben Gallego, D-Ariz., criticized the video on Twitter, writing that “this type of fascist messaging needs to stop. It only encourages political violence.”
Texas Rep. Joaquin Castro, a Democrat, tweeted that “this is sociopathic,” according to The Hill. He reportedly added that Greitens was “going to get someone killed.”
One user claimed to have reported Greitens to Twitter for the video, while another asked, “What the hell is wrong with you?”
Twitter did not remove the post, but add a warning label to it, saying:
"This Tweet violated the Twitter Rules about abusive behavior. However, Twitter has determined that it may be in the public’s interest for the Tweet to remain accessible."
In 2018 Greitens, who was then Missouri governor, was forced to resign over allegations of sexual assault and campaign finance violations.
He is running for the seat that will be vacated by retiring GOP Sen. Roy Blunt.
Greitens has also been accused of being physically violent with his ex-wife Sheena Greitens and their children.
In an affidavit, she said that Greitens purchased a gun, hid it from his family and threatened to kill himself if his then-wife did not provide “specific public political support” before his resignation.
The video comes amid increasing calls for more stringent gun control and an evenly split bipartisan group of 20 senators announced an agreement on nine principles for potential legislation.
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