Missouri GOP Senate hopeful Eric Greitens posted an ad Monday depicting him and people dressed in military-style uniforms hunting down political opponents with guns.
Greitens was, a move that came after allegations that he engaged in an extramarital affair in which the woman alleged he physically abused and threatened her. Greitens’ resignation was part of a deal with a St. Louis prosecutor to drop a felony charge alleging misuse of a charity donor list to raise funds for his 2016 gubernatorial campaign. Greitens also stands accused by his ex-wife of . Greitens has denied any wrongdoing.
Greitens, a former Navy SEAL, opens the ad by saying he’s “going RINO hunting.” “RINO” is short for “Republican in name only,” a phrase hard-right Republicans sometimes use for those they deem insufficiently conservative.
“I’m Eric Greitens, Navy SEAL. And today, we’re going RINO hunting,” Greitens says in the ad, readying his gun.
“The RINO feeds on corruption and is marked by the stripes of cowardice,” the candidate continues, as the footage shows him and the men in combat gear enter the front door of a house by force, guns at the ready.
“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,” Greitens concludes.
The ad was paid for by Greitens’ campaign.
Meta, formerly Facebook, took down the ad, while Twitter kept it up, slapping a warning label on it.
“This tweet violated the Twitter rules about abusive behavior,” the Twitter label reads. “However, Twitter has determined that it may be in the public’s interest for the tweet to remain accessible.”
Missouri’s Fraternal Order of Police issued a statement condemning the ad, saying: “This deplorable video has no place in our political system and sends a dangerous message that it is somehow acceptable to kill those who have differing political beliefs.”
Another Missouri GOP Senate hopeful, Dave Schatz, called the ad “completely irresponsible.”
“This is completely irresponsible,” Schatz said. “That’s why I’m running. It’s time to restore sanity and reject this nonsense. Missouri deserves better.”
Some of Greitens’ GOP opponents had already called on him to drop out of the race over past allegations.
In, Greitens’ former hairdresser testified that Greitens initiated a physically aggressive and unwanted sexual encounter with her and threatened to distribute a partially nude photo of her if she spoke out. The woman claimed Greitens slapped, grabbed, spanked and shoved her in a series of encounters as he was preparing to run for office. Greitens has claimed there was no violence, and described the affair as consensual.
Since then, Greitens’ ex-wife has alleged in court documents that he, including knocking her down and yanking their then 3-year-old son by the hair. Sheena Greitens made the accusations during a child custody dispute. Eric Greitens called those allegations fabricated at the time.
The Republican Party primaries in Missouri take place Aug. 2.